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Home Health N.S. health authority apologizes after patient alleges racial discrimination

N.S. health authority apologizes after patient alleges racial discrimination

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Nova Scotia Health has apologized to a Dartmouth, N.S., woman for her recent experience at a local hospital while she battles COVID-19, saying she was treated inappropriately by staff.

Madeline Fradette, who is Black, said she felt racially discriminated against after a nurse declined to give her a taxi chit to return home.

Fradette, 76, had gone to the Dartmouth General Hospital for a follow-up appointment after testing positive for COVID-19 and being hospitalized.

Madeline Fradette, 76, was hospitalized with COVID-19 recently. (Submitted by Madeline Fradette)

Following her checkup, Fradette asked for a taxi chit to get back home. She said a nurse, who is white, told her the hospital doesn’t do that any more and offered her a bus ticket instead.

“Seventy-six years old, breath short, Sunday evening, the buses run every hour,” said Fradette, whose breathing was still laboured days later. “And you’re going to offer me a bus ticket?”

Fradette said hospital staff eventually relented and sent her home in a cab. She complained to patient services.

In a statement, Nova Scotia Health said it “acknowledges the toll of systemic racism on the physical and mental health of Black, Indigenous and people of colour populations.”

“We acknowledge that Ms. Fradette’s experience was inappropriate,” the statement goes on to say. The health authority apologized to Fradette and thanked her for her feedback.

The statement concludes by saying Nova Scotia Health is following up with staff to ensure they understand that they should demonstrate flexibility and work to accommodate patients during this difficult time.

Fradette said Friday she’s happy with the response to her complaint and is moving on because holding a grudge would only make her recovery more difficult.

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