Kathleen Martens and Laurie Hamelin
APTN National News
Racial profiling is being blamed for a horror story in the Chilliwack Hospital in B.C.
“Every time I think of it my blood boils,” said Eddie Julian in a telephone interview Friday.
Julian says his former wife, Mary Stewart – a First Nation woman – survived being struck by a semi-trailer truck in the early morning hours last week only to be allegedly kicked out of the Chilliwack Hospital not once but twice the same night.
Mary Stewart, 55, is a patient at Chilliwack General Hospital September 22.
“Mary was treated worse than the chickens that are being abused on the farms here,” Julian said of the ongoing controversy involving accusations of animal abuse in the area.
He says Stewart, 55, was rushed to the hospital by ambulance where she was examined and x-rayed before a doctor released her. Despite her protests, Julian says a male nurse tried to pull her off a bed by her legs and into a wheelchair.
“She said, ‘I can’t move’,” Julian said, noting he was shocked to hear that.
He said she spent the night in the wheelchair in the pouring rain a block from the hospital after she and her companion where ordered out of the building a second time.
“They were going to wait out the rain before they went outside. A second nurse came and said ‘You have to leave. If you don’t we will call the cops on you.’”
Julian said the pair sought shelter in a covered area nearby with only a sheet over Stewart’s legs for warmth because her pants were cut off by paramedics. She didn’t have a ride or phone.
“Every crack in the sidewalk was excruciating for her,” Julian said. “She was in a lot of pain.”
The pharmacist at a drugstore sent her back to hospital the next morning where Julian says Stewart was diagnosed with multiple fractures, a broken femur and a crushed foot requiring surgery. She remained in hospital Friday, he said.
Julian alleges Stewart was treated in a racist manner because she is Aboriginal (from nearby Skwah First Nation) and a recovering drug addict in a methadone program.
The truck driver fled the scene of the accident east of the downtown core, Julian added, and no police attended until he started making calls. An RCMP constable has since taken Stewart’s statement, he said.
Julian said a hospital official visited Stewart and promised a full investigation.
“We are very sorry about the experience this patient had while being treated in our hospital,” said media spokesperson Nafisa Abdulla in an emailed statement Friday night. “And this is certainly not the level of care we strive for.”
Abdulla said a review of test results shows Stewart was “prematurely discharged” and staff will “continue to support her” as she recovers from her injuries.
She added an Elder has been made available through the hospital’s Indigenous care program.
APTN left messages seeking comment from the RCMP and B.C. First Nations Health Authority.
Julian and Stewart have five children together. He says some of those children are with Stewart at the hospital.