For the second time in a week, Kitimat General Hospital is facing allegations of racism resulting in death. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Kitimat couple sue hospital, health authority after stillborn delivery

Sarah Morrison and Ronald Luft are accusing racial profiling and negligence by staff

A Kitimat woman and her partner, who delivered a stillborn after being turned away at the local hospital and forced to drive to Terrace, nearly an hour away, have filed a lawsuit against Northern Health, Kitimat General Hospital and several doctors and nurses.

Earlier this month, the couple came forward to Black Press Media with their allegations, prompting an internal investigation by the Northern Health Authority.

According to court documents filed in BC Supreme Court on Feb. 10, Sarah Morrison, who is Indigenous, and Ronald Luft are accusing racial profiling and negligence by staff at Kitimat General Hospital and Mills Memorial Hospital.

ALSO READ: Family claims pregnant woman was turned away at Kitimat hospital, ending in stillborn birth

None of these accusations have been tested in court. The sequence of events detailed in the lawsuit are as follows:

Morrison and Luft called the Kitimat hospital on the evening of Jan. 27 to say they’d be coming in because Morrison was experiencing painful contractions. At the time, Morrison was two weeks overdue.

The pair arrived at the hospital where a nurse examined the baby’s heart rate, which was recorded at 140. Morrison said she was experiencing fluid leakage but the nurse did not examine her further.

When the on-call doctor arrived, Dr. Huang, he “took about 10 minutes” checking on Morrison, but did not do any kind of examination. He then said “there was nothing he could do for them and that he did not understand why they came to KGH” and that they should have gone to Terrace.

The pair left the hospital around 7 p.m. and called an ambulance so paramedics could take them to Mills Memorial Hospital, a roughly 45-minute drive.

When the ambulance arrived, a paramedic refused to take them unless they paid for the trip. Under B.C.’s Health Act, ambulance services can involve payment through insurance providers or by cost of the patient.

Morrison and Luft agreed to pay, however, the paramedic still refused because Huang said transportation was not necessary.

Morrison’s father drove them to Terrace, when she started to experience increasingly intense contractions.

Upon arrival, at about 8 p.m., the pair waited 15 minutes before a nurse gave Morrison a blanket and set up a heart rate monitor. Two nurses and three doctors, identified as Dr. Passmore, Dr. McCann, Dr. McGivery, looked at the heart rate monitor, but were unable to find a heartbeat.

Morrison asked a fourth physician, Dr. Jacobus Strydom, to perform a Cesarian but was told “he did not see the point and it was not in her best interest for future pregnancies.” Morrison said she wanted to save her baby.

The pair attempted to leave the hospital “to find help elsewhere” when Morrison’s mother arrived. She demanded that her daughter be monitored for her fluids and oxygen, receive oxycotin to regulate her contractions and for an additional examination to be done before doing a Cesarian.

Morrison was offered fentanyl for her pain, as well as morphine and nitrous oxide. She gave birth to a seven pound and eight ounce baby girl, named Coral-Lee Edith Cheryl Luft, at 1:55 a.m.

The baby was washed and wrapped in a blanket and given to Morrison, but “no attempts to resuscitate the baby were made.”

No examination was done on the baby.

According to the court documents, Morrison’s health records included “erroneous and racial stereotyping” such as that she was in an abusive relationship, that her parents had diabetes, that she had annual urinary tract infections and was depressed, and that her parents were alcoholics and recovering from drug use.

Since the incident, the couple say they’ve experienced emotional and psychological trauma, grief, loss of the will to live, shame and embarrassment.

None of those named in the lawsuit have filed a response as of Feb. 12.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Just Posted

Victoria’s Swartz Bay terminal. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries offers cheaper, prepaid fare options

Ferry service preparing for busy terminals when travel restrictions are lifted

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains a reminder of culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Vancouver Island MLA put in charge of B.C.’s police act reform

Routley considers role of police with respect to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The application proposing to rezone Western Speedway was passed by Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee Feb 8. A petition has since been started by residents of Trudie Terrace, hoping to stop the proposed residential portion of the development plan. (CBRE Victoria)
Petition opposing Western Speedway development proposal gains steam

Save Thetis Heights Neighborhood petition aims to stop extension of Trudie Terrace

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communites across Vanccouver Island.
EDITORIAL: COVIDiocy has reached another level

Fake posters claiming end of restrictions cowardly and irresponsible

Victoria Police Department vehicles outside the headquarters building. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police investigating sudden death in Beacon Hill Park

Police, paramedics responded to a report of an unresponsive person early Wednesday

Gp Vanier in Courtenay. Circa 2018. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Schools
Another COVID exposure alert for Vanier Secondary in Courtenay

Second exposure for the school in just over a week

(Google maps photo)
COVID-19: Case confirmed at École Oceanside Elementary School in Parksville

Dates of exposure were Thursday, Feb. 25 and Friday, Feb. 26

COVID-19 vaccines were available at a site on East Pender in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Feb. 25. (Twitter/Sarahblyth17)
Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents offered $5 after getting COVID-19 vaccine

It’s an effort to ‘incentivize people to engage,’ says B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix

</p>
A survey by Statistics Canada finds Black Canadians earn less than non-visible minority Canadians despite having higher levels of education. (The Canadian Press file photo)
COVID-19 worsened unemployment picture for Black Canadians

Black Canadians also more likely to suffer other hardships

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. teacher transferred then suspended after students report feeling ‘scared, nervous’

Authorities found that teacher did not create inviting, respectful environment for students

FILE - Dolly Parton arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Grammy-winning singer, actor and humanitarian posted a video on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, of her singing just before getting her COVID-19 vaccine shot. Parton donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for coronavirus research. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
‘Vaccine, vaccine’: Dolly sings ‘Jolene’ rewrite before shot

The Grammy-winning legend turned 75 this year

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland speaks about the Fiscal update during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID-19: Wage and rent subsidies, lockdown support to be extended until June

Chrystia Freeland says now is not time to lower levels of support

Most Read