NEWS

Atikamekw woman files complaint over doctor's alleged racist comment

06/05/2015 08:05 EDT | Updated 06/05/2016 05:59 EDT
A First Nations woman from Northern Quebec has filed a complaint with Sainte-Justine Hospital after a doctor allegedly made racist comments while she was accompanying her young son for surgery.

Kelly Bosum, a member of the Atikamekw First Nation who lives near Chibougamau, Que., came to Montreal on Monday with her toddler for a scheduled operation to repair his hearing.

After the surgery, Bosum said the doctor asked how she got to Montreal and who paid for the trip.

Bosum told her that Aboriginal Affairs Canada pays for transportation and items such as medication.

She said she was shocked by the doctor's response.

"'I guess that's why we pay our bloody taxes.' She said it just like that," Bosum said.

Bosum said she told the doctor the comment was inappropriate and that she was proud to be aboriginal.

She wrote a letter about the incident to the hospital.

Officials at Sainte-Justine say they are taking the matter seriously.

Michèle Parent, a cultural consultant in the health care field, said incidents like this highlight the need for more cultural sensitivity training.

"It's our professional responsibility," she said.

It's the responsibility of health care professionals to educate themselves about the aboriginal population and offer care in conjunction with the culture,  Parent said.

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