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

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read