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)

Nisga’a woman plans to file lawsuit against Northern Health

Kristy White alleges racism, malpractice at Prince George hospital 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

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

lotto max logo
Are you the lucky winner?

A $1 million ticket was bought in Burns Lake for Friday’s Lotto… Continue reading

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

CELEBRATING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
Council members and witnesses from the Hupacasath First Nation, left, and Tseshaht First Nation, right, prepare to raise their respective flags in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Monday, June 21, 2021. The flags will permanently fly as part of the city’s reconciliation work. See more coverage from the flag raising ceremony on page A5. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Vancouver Island First Nations flags to fly permanently at city hall

Addition of flags are one Port Alberni response to reconciliation

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

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

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

Most Read