The B.C. government is continuing its investigation into a “game” where health practitioners would guess the blood-alcohol level of some Indigenous patients.
Some people are speaking out with their own stories about being mistreated in the healthcare system.
Marcia Gunno is one of them.
Her younger brother Preston Gunno died at the age of 49.
“Two years ago, Preston was diagnosed with a very severe and aggressive form of cancer,” Marcia said. “Preston lived in Prince George and in the early parts of his illness he went to the Prince George hospital to seek treatment in emergency.”
Marcia said before a diagnosis was made, her brother went to the same hospital three to five times to find out why he was in so much pain.
Each time he was told to go home because nothing was wrong.
“He let me know that on one of those visits that one of the questions was asked of him was could his injury or his illness be part of possibly a sexually transmitted disease,” she said.
“At the time, Preston had an aggressive form of cancer and we later found out that during that time he had fractures in his spine and his hips, and it was incredible that he was still mobile and the warrior that he was seeking treatment and walking around and trying get help.”
By the time he was properly diagnosed it was too late, Marcia added.
Coincidentally, Preston was the provincial director of Indigenous cancer care with the Canadian Cancer Society at the time of his death.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the alleged “Price is Right” game that health professionals play is unacceptable.
The Métis Nation of B.C. was one of the organizations that brought the game to the minister’s attention.
“This day and age that we are still dealing with this type of racism to our Indigenous people we always knew it was there, but to this extent is shocking,” said president Clara Morin Dal Col.
The provincial government has appointed lawyer and former judge Mary Ellen Turpel Lafond to lead an independent investigation.
“Clearly, if there is any workplace in British Columbia where people are playing games at the expense of the health and safety of Indigenous people one can only expect one in those roles to face severe consequences,” she said.