Nunavut man with heart condition denied health care in Cape Dorset
“She said 'I’m sorry, you’re not from Cape Dorset'”
Nash Sagiatook, 64, an Iqaluit man who suffers from a worrisome heart condition, said a nurse in Cape Dorset violated his right to health care June 1 by refusing treatment — “because I was not from Cape Dorset.”
“For a sick person, that’s not right,” he told Nunatsiaq News.
Sagiatook, who works as an elder-advisor and counsellor at the Tukisigiarvik wellness centre in Iqaluit, was first diagnosed with heart problems in 2007 and received treatment in Ottawa for his condition as recently as this year.
In early June, he travelled to Cape Dorset to provide counselling to people attending advisory meetings on the residential school independent assessment process.
On the morning of June 1, he felt “weak and sick.” Worried, he called the Cape Dorset health centre.
“I told the receptionist that I had been sent to Ottawa earlier this year because of a heart condition, and that I was worried that I might be feeling weak because of my heart condition,” Sagiatook said in a letter of complaint he sent to the Nunavut government health department.
Come here after 1:00 p.m., the receptionist said.
Sagiatook did that, taking a seat in the reception area, where he waited about 40 minutes.
When a nurse emerged to speak to him, he got a rude surprise.
“Without asking any questions about my health or how I was feeling, this nurse told me that because I was not from Cape Dorset I could not receive treatment at the nursing station,” Sagiatook said in his letter of complaint.
Sagiatook said the nurse “did not listen to what I tried to tell her” and that this constitutes a violation of his right to health care as a resident of Nunavut.
“Physically, I was weak. At the same time, I was hurt in my feelings,” he said.
Another nurse came out to speak to him, Sagiatook said. This one asked him a few questions about how he was feeling and put her hand on his forehead, he said.
She told Sagiatook that he probably had a fever and told him to take some Tylenol. She did not take his blood pressure or use a thermometer to check his temperature.
“But at least she tried to help me,” Sagiatook said.
He said that what happened to him in Cape Dorset is totally unacceptable and that the Department of Health and Social Services should investigate the situation.
“I want an answer on this. It should not be swept under the rug like so many other problems with the services that Nunavummiut are supposed to receive from this department,” he said.
The Nunavut health department has not immediately responded to a request for comment.