The Health Sciences Centre (HSC) in Winnipeg has launched an investigation into the actions of security guards at the facility after a Métis man seeking treatment for a nail stuck in his arm alleged he was asked to leave the hospital’s emergency room in the middle of the night for taking photos in the facility, which he denies doing.
Larry Chief, 40, said he had a three-inch nail stuck in his left forearm and arrived at HSC Wednesday around 12:30 a.m. in an ambulance from Ashern, Man.
Chief said he wasn’t immediately seen by a doctor. He said he sat in pain in the emergency room waiting area until 3 a.m. when he said three security guards approached him and asked him to leave.
“I was on my phone playing a game and three security guards came up to me and told me, ‘Oh you can’t take pictures in here, you have to leave,’” said Chief. “I was like ‘I’m not taking pictures, I don’t know what you’re talking about.’”
“I got up and I was leaving and I said, ‘Why are you making me leave? I need to see someone. I have a nail in my arm,’” said Chief. “This was (at) three in the morning.”
“I said, ‘I’m not doing nothing wrong.’”
Chief said from outside the hospital, he waited about 20 minutes for a ride from his stepfather to St. Boniface Hospital, where he received treatment and the nail was removed.
“When I went to St. Boniface, they were very helpful. They saw me and got me in a room within 10 minutes,” said Chief. “They tried to take (the nail) out but it was too painful to take out with just freezing, so they had to sedate me.”
In a statement, HSC Winnipeg’s chief operating officer Ronan Segrave said an investigation was launched after Chief contacted the patient relations office.
“We began an investigation into the actions of our security staff,” said a portion of Segrave’s statement. “While their actions appear to have been motivated by the need to ensure the privacy of other patients, their actions in this case did not meet the threshold of patient care that we expect.
“We take the allegations of Mr. Chief very seriously and offer him our sincere apologies for the treatment he received while at our facility.”
Chief said he was using a nail gun to help a friend in Lake St. Martin First Nation, about three hours northwest of Winnipeg, with some home renovations when the injury occurred.
“He was putting boards up so I tried to put a board up and I shot myself in the arm,” said Chief.
He said he first got a ride to Gypsumville before going in an ambulance to Ashern for treatment.
Chief’s experience at HSC comes only a week after Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Indigenous mother, died in a Quebec hospital shortly after recording a video of staff making racial and degrading insults about her while she was in a hospital bed.
Chief feels racial discrimination played a role in the way he was treated at HSC.
“They just discriminated against me,” said Chief. “I was in pain and then they kicked me out without seeing a doctor or asking any questions or am I okay.”