Dear Mr. Lanteigne,
I am writing to you today on behalf of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government because of a number of very concerning issues we have with Campbellton Regional Hospital. I would like to raise and speak to these issues with you and the hospital board so we can work collaboratively to address them. I understand your board will be meeting on March 1, 2016 in Bathurst and I would like to be added to your meeting agenda and attend with my CEO Paul Stanley.
Over the past few weeks, I have heard several disturbing stories of discrimination and unprofessional behavior on the part of your hospital staff members towards our Listiguj First Nation members.
In one incident, a receptionist at the hospital said she would not provide drugs to one of our members and made disparaging remarks by insinuating the individual would abuse these drugs. This person had no drug convictions or addictions whatsoever.
In a more recent incident, a mother visited the hospital with her toddler. After giving some medication to the child, the physician on call gave the girl a sticker. The sticker appears to have been from a movie, but what was written on the sticker was, “Greetings, Native Savages.” This is unacceptable, insensitive and was very upsetting to this child’s mother, who only noticed the sticker after she arrived home in Listuguj. This level of insensitivity points to a dearth of cultural competency and cultural safety at your hospital.
Unfortunately, we do have other stories that point to discriminatory, even racist attitudes of some hospital staff towards our members.
As you are aware, Campbellton Regional Hospital is the nearest major health centre to Listuguj. Our members are visiting on a daily basis. We will not tolerate ignorant or unprofessional attitudes. We want all of our members to be respected and to feel welcome when they come to your hospital. We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you to ensure incidents like these do not happen in the future.
In many other regions across Canada, hospitals have worked closely with neighbouring First Nations to develop services and programs to meet the needs of Indigenous patients. We believe now is the time to develop respectful initiatives that will benefit the Campbellton Regional Hospital and respect Indigenous patients.
I look forward to speaking with you further. I will be following up this letter with a phone call to you in the next week.