A 38-year-old Métis woman is calling her trip to the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg last week degrading and embarrassing.
On Oct. 21, Jacqueline Flett, 38, went to the hospital’s emergency room for a painful foot ulcer resulting from her diabetes.
She said after two hours of waiting, the staff forgot about her despite the fact that only three others waiting.
“I asked, ‘is it because of my Indigenous heritage?’ And at that point they kind of got not belligerent, but they got visibly upset,” said Flett.
Flett says she brought up past racist incidents like Brian Sinclair, who died in the emergency room of the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg in 2008.
Flett started documenting her time at the hospital on her phone’s notepad, but security guards and staff thought she was taking pictures and confiscated her phone. She says they found no photos – but staff kicked her out anyway.
“I was just shocked and appalled at the way they were treating me,” she said. “I was really sick and I didn’t receive adequate care.
“I was escorted off the property and embarrassed and ashamed and it was really insulting and degrading.”
Flett went to a different hospital the next day, and was triaged immediately for a bone infection. She says the doctors told her if she had waited another day, it may have been fatal.
In an email statement to APTN News, St. Boniface Hospital said they were investigating the matter and the events described are troubling and do not align with the values of the hospital.
“The events as described are troubling, and do not align with the values of St Boniface Hospital, nor would the events as described meet our hospital’s quality of care standards,” said the statement. “We are investigating this matter to ensure we understand exactly what happened and to identify any issues that need to be addressed.”
Flett has lodged a complaint with the hospital’s Patient Relations Office.
She says she wants to share her story because she doesn’t want an incident like hers to happen to someone else.
“We have this national truth and reconciliation but what’s the point if we are treated poorly as Indigenous People when trying to get adequate care,” she said.
“We really have to start working together and start speaking out.”