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Kitimat General Hospital under fire for second allegation of racism ending in death

Naomi Bracken says her son died after being told to leave Kitimat hospital despite chest pains
For the second time in a week, Kitimat General Hospital is facing allegations of racism resulting in death. (Black Press Media File Photo)

For the second time in a week Adrian Dix, provincial health minister, has been asked to look into how the Kitimat General Hospital handled a case in which someone subsequently died.

Terrace resident Naomi Bracken said in a Feb. 4 letter sent to Dix that her son, Joshua Benson, 39, passed away Aug. 31, 2020 after he was told to leave the hospital while experiencing chest pains.

“He was at the hospital for about eight hours,” Bracken wrote in the letter. “He was told they could find nothing and were unable to help him and asked him to leave.”

“I believe racism killed my son.”

Bracken, who is Gitxsan, said that she spoke with her son on the phone as he was walking to his truck.

“He said that they kicked him out and there was nobody there that would speak and get a hold of even, he didn’t have a taxi number, he couldn’t get a hold of his bosses and friends and that so he had to walk,” she said in an interview with Black Press Media.

“He was walking up the hill when I was talking to him and he was halfway up and that’s where they [the RCMP] found him, he must have died right after I had said goodbye.”

Bracken said she asked for her son’s hospital files several weeks ago, but has yet to receive anything. She told Black Press Media that she is planning to follow up with the hospital again on Monday, Feb. 8, and that she has not yet received a response from the Ministry of Health as of Feb 5.

The BC Coroners Service said that the case is still under investigation.

In the letter to Dix, Bracken said she was originally going to contact the Ombudsman and Human Rights Commission, “but in light of another recent incident it seems more logical to send this directly to you.”

Last week, the family of Sarah Morrison said that her daughter was delivered stillborn at Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace after being told there was nothing that could be done for her at Kitimat General.

There have now been accusations of racism stemming from this incident.

The Northern Health Authority is now reviewing the quality of care that was provided to Morrison, who is Haisla.

“I just hope that there is an investigation that goes on about all the things that are happening,” Bracken said.

B.C. Ministry of Health confirmed that it has received the letter and is looking into the situation.

READ MORE: Dix says review launched after stillbirth leads to allegations of racism at Kitimat hospital


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