Gitxsan woman alleges racism against Kitimat hospital after son's death

Joshua Benson pic

A Gitxsan woman from Terrace is alleging racism against Kitimat General Hospital after the sudden death of her son last year. 

Naomi Bracken said that on August 30th, 2020, her son, Joshua Benson, went to the Kitimat hospital after he started having severe chest pains at work. 

Bracken said he was there for about eight hours and that the doctors gave him painkillers but eventually asked him to leave, claiming they couldn't do more to help him. 

She said that he died less than half an hour later.

"He said that they had let him go and that they he had said that he didn't have that much pain or anything anymore that he was okay. He said 'I've got so much painkillers, of course I don't have pain.'

"They just kicked him out of the hospital. He's not even from Kitimat. He didn't have a ride, he had no one to pick him up and kicked him out. He had to walk in this condition and he died halfway up the hill."

Bracken said that her son had died of an aortic dissection with a rupture. 

This week, she sent a letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix to ask him to review her son's death alongside the recently announced review into an incident last week, where a Haisla woman gave birth to a stillborn baby after allegedly being turned away from the Kitimat Hospital. 

In Bracken's letter to the health minister, she said she believes racism killed her son.

"I don't believe that, if it had happened to any one of them, that they would have let their relatives out of the hospital, especially when there is nobody there to collect them and especially if they don't even live there. It's almost like they just wanted to think it was OK and get rid of him."

Northern Health declined to comment on this story. CFTK-TV has also reached out to the Ministry of Health for comment.