Wesley White was diagnosed with a brain injury following a difficult birth in Prince George. He is currently in a support sitting chair. (Submitted Photo/Kristy White)

Wesley White was diagnosed with a brain injury following a difficult birth in Prince George. He is currently in a support sitting chair. (Submitted Photo/Kristy White)

Indigenous woman plans to file lawsuit against Northern Health citing racism

Kristy White alleges racism, malpractice at Prince George hospital that left her child with brain damage

A Nisga’a woman plans to file a lawsuit against Northern Health related to the treatment she received while giving birth to her baby last summer at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia in Prince George.

Kristy White alleges that due to racism and mismanagement during her delivery, her child Wesley suffered a brain injury.

White said that her baby was in a transverse position and she was 37 weeks pregnant when she arrived in Prince George to deliver the baby on June 17, 2020.

She alleges that a nurse made racially insensitive comments, and kept her and Wesley’s father Warren alone for nearly her entire shift on June 18.

White said that the nurse’s comments started when she was trying to have a conversation with her about traditional Indigenous foods.

“When we were trying to explain it to her, she’s like, ‘I don’t understand why you people do those kinds of things,’ and she wrinkled her nose, threw her hands in the air,” White said.

She would often say ‘Indians’ like she’s being biased towards me.”

White alleges that the nurse did not include her in any decisions about her care, and when a doctor instructed the nurse to increase the dose of oxytocin, the nurse initially refused to do so, resulting in White being unable to become fully dilated.

“You know how somebody who’s caring and compassionate and trying to help you get through something like a nurse normally would, she wasn’t that way, she was very biased,” White said.

“She was very rude, very ignorant. It was hard to have any conversations with her, she wouldn’t let me speak for myself.”

Doctors attempted a vacuum-assisted delivery, which White claims to have caused the infant to suffer injuries. On May 3, 2021, a neurologist at the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver diagnosed Wesley with brain bleeds, and White said the neurologist told her the damage was likely due to the vacuum-assisted birth.

According to White, Wesley is behind his physical development by around six months and requires physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy as well as trips to the BC Children’s Hospital every three months.

After the birth, the Whites submitted a complaint to Northern Health’s Patient Care Quality Office. Northern Health determined that racism did not play a role in the nurse’s actions.

But the agency did acknowledge in an August 2020 email sent to Kristy White that there was a disagreement between the nurse and doctor, resulting in the medical team not functioning effectively and that management was working with the nurse to “ensure she understands the impact of her actions and that she will become a more effective team player in the future.”

White has also submitted a complaint to the College of BC Nursing Professionals and is now working with Pacific Medical Law, a Vancouver-based firm specializing in medical malpractice and birth injury. She said she plans to file a lawsuit in the coming months after obtaining all of Wesley’s medical records.

“I’ve kept quiet because I’m not the type of person to be public about my life and what I’m going through – my focus is Wesley, it’s always going to be Wesley.”

“I don’t want this to happen to anybody else. I’m speaking out because there needs to be a change.”

Northern Health said in a statement that it cannot comment on specific patient experiences to protect their privacy, but that there was a quality of care complaint investigated when concerns were raised in June 2020 and the results were provided to the complainant.

“Anyone who is unsatisfied with the response or outcome from a health authority Patient Care Quality Office investigation, also has the option of contacting the Patient Care Quality Review Board for an independent review,” the statement reads.

“Northern Health strives to support a health care system that is culturally safe for Indigenous people; we are committed to providing a work and care environment that is characterized by respectful behaviour, and free from discrimination, bullying and harassment. We know that the vast majority of our staff and care providers share this commitment, and provide culturally safe care every day – and we also know there is more work to be done.”

READ MORE: Kitimat hospital care review result won’t be made public

Northern Healthracism

Just Posted

(Pixabay Image)
Monday’s top temperature topples record in Agassiz

Temps reached into the low 30s to break records in Agassiz, Environment Canada says

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

BC Wildfire Service (Black Press Media files)
Fire at Eleven Mile Creek near Hope classified as out of control

It’s a small blaze so far at 20 hectares, but firefighters don’t yet have a handle on it

Temperature records were broken for June 21, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Record-breaking heat shimmered across Fraser Valley for second day

Tuesday should be a bit cooler says forecast from Environment Canada

Tourism Abbotsford has launched the ‘Let’s Go Do Something’ campaign to encourage visitors to check out all Abbotsford has to offer. (Tourism Abbotsford photo)
Tourism Abbotsford launches ‘Let’s Go Do Something’ campaign

Visitors encouraged to check out all Abbotsford has to offer this summer

A person stands in a tower on the perimeter of the Number 3 Detention Center in Dabancheng in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on April 23, 2021. Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Schiefelbein
VIDEO: Trudeau demands truth from China about Uyghurs

PM says Canada has admitted broken Indigenous relationship, unlike China on Uyghurs

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, middle right, participates in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honour of the launch of Kelowna’s plasma donor centre at Orchard Plaza Mall on June 22. From left to right: Canadian Blood Services’ business development manager Janna Pantella, Canadian Blood Services’ operational excellence manager Tyler Burke, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Canadian Blood Services’ centre manager Janine Johns. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
B.C.’s first dedicated plasma donor centre opens in Kelowna

The Kelowna location is the third dedicated plasma donor to open in Canada

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk in the classroom and in the community identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in December that Surrey’s new hospital will be located in Cloverdale, next to KPU. (File photo: Malin Jordan)
Health minister expects construction of Surrey’s new hospital in Cloverdale to begin in 2023, open in 2027

Adrian Dix spoke Tuesday in a Zoom meeting hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade concerning the new hospital

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

Most Read