A view from the Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre — Xaayda Gwaay Ngaaysdll Naay — in the Village of Queen Charlotte. (Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Haida Gwaii physicians respond to provincial investigation into racist guessing game

Doctors ‘dismayed’ by B.C. health ministry report on racist blood-alcohol guessing game allegations

Haida Gwaii physicians have issued a statement following the launch of an investigation by the ministry of health into allegations of emergency room doctors and nurses playing a game guessing the blood alcohol level of Indigenous patients and possibly others.

In a joint statement on National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21), the doctors said they were “dismayed” by the report from Health Minister Adrian Dix that described “a serious example of systemic racism in our health care system.”

“As your doctors, we feel angry and also ashamed that such damaging attitudes and behaviours exist in our profession, despite our spoken commitments to provide care with compassion and respect,” the statement said, adding that the acts of racism reported by Dix damage trust.

“While we feel disheartened, we as physicians must also see this as an opportunity for humility and growth. It is another chance for those of us who have been sheltered from racism to realize the magnitude of the problem and shock us into action.”

ALSO READ: B.C. launches investigation into allegations of racist blood-alcohol guessing game in ER

The doctors acknowledged that, while it can be easy for health care providers to distance themselves from blatant acts of racism, it is also possible to contribute to the persistence of systemic racism through ignorance and inaction, such as not taking the time to learn the history that has led to current injustices, not uncovering the root causes of suffering and addiction, or remaining silent.

“May this most recent example of systemic racism awaken and deepen our sense of shared humanity,” the statement continued.

The doctors ended with a quote from American political activist and philosopher Angela Davis: “I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I’m changing the things I cannot accept.”

ALSO READ: VQC proposes reopening Haida Gwaii to B.C. tourists 3 weeks behind rest of province

Dix had announced the launch of the investigation at a news conference on June 19.

“Last night I was made aware of racist practices in emergency room or rooms,” he told reporters.

“If true, it is intolerable, unacceptable and racist.”

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed by the province to look into the allegations.

In a separate statement, Premier John Horgan said he was “outraged by reports of ugly, anti-Indigenous, racist behaviour at multiple health-care facilities in B.C.”

Horgan went on to pledge that the allegations will not be swept aside.

“No one should fear discrimination when they need help the most. No one should worry that when they visit a hospital that they will be prejudged and given a lower standard of care,” he said.

“If confirmed, this is a heartbreaking example of systemic racism in our province.”

— With files from Ashley Wadhwani

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

BC Cancer mobile mammography coach coming to Haida Gwaii this month

Breast cancer screening appointments still available; clients asked to bring a face mask

Haida Gwaii residents to be allowed conditional entry to Gwaii Haanas next month

Gwaii Haanas will reopen Aug. 1 to people who ‘attest to a set of specific conditions’ set out by CHN

Following incident at sea, fishing lodge says it will reopen despite Haida travel ban

QCL reopens July 10, says president; Haida chief councillor describes ‘dangerous’ boating encounter

More than $1.2 million announced for Masset water treatment plant upgrades

Residents of Masset, Old Massett to benefit from $1,241,500 in joint provincial-federal funding

From the archives of the Haida Gwaii Observer

50 YEARS AGO (1970): Highways Minister Wesley Black visited the islands and… Continue reading

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Most Read