Around 40 people showed their support for Connor Sutton and his family outside Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria on July 21, 2020. (Veronica Vander Heiden photo)

Around 40 people showed their support for Connor Sutton and his family outside Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria on July 21, 2020. (Veronica Vander Heiden photo)

Rally held outside Victoria hospital for Indigenous man allegedly denied medical care

A First Nations member of the Canadian Armed forces was denied respectful care says family

Dozens gathered for a rally outside of Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital earlier this week in support of an Indigenous Duncan man who was allegedly denied respectful care.

The demonstration held Tuesday (July 21) was organized by Taliais Treena Black, who says it has been a month of living hell for her family since her son, 23-year-old Connor Sutton, was placed in a psychiatric ward at the hospital.

“I want to bring this into the light for all those that go through the same thing and don’t have a mom or someone on the outside that can use their voice to help bring awareness and change,” she wrote in a Facebook post a few hours before the rally.

READ MORE: Healthcare racism probe must go to systemic roots, not just ‘bad apples’: Indigenous doctor

Sutton is a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and T’sou-ke First Nation located on southern Vancouver Island.

He was reportedly told to go to a homeless shelter by hospital staff who refused to assist him after he sought aid at a hospital in Duncan in June for chest pains, vomiting, speech and breathing difficulties, as well as severe confusion due to a hole in his esophagus.

The family said doctors at Royal Jubilee still don’t have a diagnosis.

In a news release also issued this week, Chief Don Tom, vice president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs called on Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, who is leading an investigation into allegations of anti-Indigenous racism in the health care system, to get involved.

“For Connor to be involuntarily held in the psych ward with the immense physical, emotional, and mental trauma he is experiencing, and with there being no proper diagnosis of his condition, is cruel and appalling,” said Tom.

READ MORE: Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Tom also urged officials with the armed forces to get involved.

In an emailed statement to Black Press Media, Island Health Authority CEO Kathy MacNeil said she and executive lead for Indigenous Health, Dawn Thomas, met with Black the day after the rally and are looking into Sutton’s case.

“Island Health has acknowledged systemic anti-Indigenous racism occurs within our health authority,” MacNeil said.

Island Health is committed to supporting the review by Turpel-Lafond, she added.

Turpel-Lafond was appointed earlier this month by B.C’s Minister of Health, Adrian Dix to lead an independent investigation into racism within the province’s health care system the day after shocking allegations were brought forward that emergency room nurses and doctors were playing a Price is Right-style game to guess the blood alcohol level of patients.

The First Nations Health Authority has urged all Indigenous people to complete a survey of their health care experiences, which will assist Turpel-Lafond’s in understanding the presence and extent of First Nations, Metis and Inuit specific discrimination in B.C.’s health care system.

The survey closes July 30.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
rebecca.dyok@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC HealthIndigenousracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read