Saskatchewan family. elder claims he was abused and racially discriminated against by staff at Regina General Hospital
The family of a Kawacatoose First Nation elder say he was abused by staff at Regina General Hospital on September 30 and the 77-year-old endured racism and abuse at the hospital for the past 14 years.
Thomas Favel was surrounded by family, friends and Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) leader Bobby Cameron at the First Nations University of Canada on Tuesday morning. It was there, in front of his relatives and multiple members of the media, that Favel showed off a large bruise on the inside of his right arm.
This bruise, according to several photos taken by Favel’s family, is among many on his body.
Favel said he received the notes while restrained by nurses at Regina General Hospital. He says he doesn’t understand why he was tied tightly.
Favel suffers from kidney failure and, in late September, was seeking treatment for pneumonia, along with his regular dialysis treatments.
He said he was sleeping when he was shaken by nurses who were « pushing » him.
« She pushed me away and this guy I didn’t see was on top of me and slammed me down on the bed, » Favel said Tuesday, his wife Verna by his side.
Favel and his family claim to have received conflicting explanations for the restraint. They said they were told he had been overpowered for being « delirious » or for trying to run away from the hospital.
« When I walked in, they told me he almost fell. So they held him down for his own safety. But how can you get out like that if it’s for your safety? » said Ann Ewenin, Favel’s daughter.
In an emailed statement to CBC, the Saskatchewan Health Authority said it was sorry to hear the concerns raised by this family. He said he would investigate any medical and safety issues and speak to the family.
The health authority also said it plans to cooperate with the Regina Police Department’s investigation.
Family allege pattern of abuse
Favel’s family said the quality of the 77-year-old’s healthcare had deteriorated since May. They said he was no longer allowed to see his long-time medical specialist, due to a change in hospital policy.
« I don’t think the hospital has the right to choose my doctor, » Favel said.
His family said that on many occasions Favel was treated inappropriately or did not receive the quality of care he deserves, and attribute the treatment to his race.
Ewenin described his father and other Indigenous men sitting outside the nephrology unit awaiting treatment.
« [Staff] joking that it’s a chiefs and council meeting or a powwow, and all the natives are sitting outside the nephrology unit waiting for other people to arrive or leave. They make them wait because of the color of their skin, » Ewenin said.
Favel still visits Regina General Hospital three days a week for dialysis, but his family said he lives in fear of the hospital.
Favel’s family are currently trying to have their care transferred to All Nations Healing Hospital in Fort Qu’Appelle. The FSIN Health Ombudsman’s Office is currently investigating the matter.
« It’s a human rights case, it’s a racial discrimination case and it’s a medical malpractice case. For the nurses who have not been named… you are going to be named. We will find out. We’re going to get to the bottom of it all, » said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. The FSIN represents First Nations in Saskatchewan.
Ewenin said she contacted Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman about a meeting to discuss the situation.
« My family is outraged. He’s a senior. We don’t treat our seniors like that. I took good care of my parents to make sure we could prolong them. They are our life, they are our livelihood. bread, they are our backbone,” Ewenin said.