A hospital on Vancouver Island is at the centre of allegations that staff played a racist “game” involving Indigenous patients.
The CBC is reporting that staff at Saanich Peninsula Hospital played a game called “The Price is Right”, guessing the blood-alcohol level of Indigenous patients.
The mayor of Central Saanich, Ryan Windsor, says if the allegations are true, the actions outrageous.
“I’m disgusted by all forms of racism, especially systemic racism because it invades and infects the very institutions that we rely on in our day to day lives,” Windsor said.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, made the allegations public last week.. However Dix did not name a hospital.
“I was made aware of serious allegations of racist and abhorrent practises in an emergency room or emergency rooms in BC. If confirmed, the conduct is beyond unacceptable,” he said.
Organizations representing B.C.’s Indigenous peoples say this issue strikes a nerve.
Clara Morin Dal Col, president of Metis Nation BC, said they’ve received many calls regarding racism in the healthcare system.
“We’re getting a lot of calls from health-care professionals that have witnessed the racism in the health-care system. We’ve been flooded with calls and we’re continuing to be flooded with calls each and every day,” Dal Cot said.
In a statement, Island Health’s CEO Kathy MacNeil wrote;
Island Health, along with the other health authorities in B.C., issued a joint statement on Friday. We fully support the provincial investigation and are committed to working with the Ministry of Health and Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond on this issue.
Island Health’s CEO has been clear with all staff and medical staff, stating if this behaviour is occurring – whether in an emergency department or any other service area – it must stop immediately.
As an investigation is underway into these allegations, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.
While an investigation into the allegations is underway, Mayor Windsor says there should be consequences for any employees involved, if the investigations substantiate the allegations.
“Well, I would want to see them terminated. Personally. Because frankly I just, I don’t think there’s any room anymore,” Windsor said.
Two Saanich Peninsula First Nations, the Tsartlip First Nation and the Tsawout First Nation say they will have formal statements on this issue Thursday.