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Royal Columbian Hospital doctor accused of refusing to wear PPE, follow COVID orders

Last Updated Jan 26, 2021 at 7:59 pm PST


Daughter of patient at Royal Columbian Hospital claims doctor treating her dad hasn't been following COVID protocols

Woman says RCH doctor hasn't been wearing masks, gloves while working with patients

Fraser Health says it's 'troubled to learn' about claims against doctor at RCH, says it's investigating

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – Of all the people you expect to wear a mask and follow pandemic protocols, doctors in intensive care units are probably near the top of the list.

But the daughter of a patient at Royal Columbian Hospital claims the doctor treating her dad hasn’t been doing it. And the response from Fraser Health has left her wanting.

“Wearing PPE is mandatory, it’s required, and I don’t know why it’s being overlooked by a doctor, and ICU doctor,” Sheryl Shankar says in a video posted to Instagram.

Her desperate plea for someone to pay attention came only after she tried every other avenue she could think of.

Her dad has been in the hospital for three months for stage-three cancer and multiple heart attacks, and she says during a visit on Saturday, the doctor treating him was behaving as though there wasn’t a highly-infectious virus going around.

“During that time, a nurse called the doctor to come and see him (her father) on an expedited basis. The nurse told us that we would be able to visit him (her father) for a short period of time until the doctor came to see him,” she explains, adding her father was struggling to breathe.

“Finally the doctor came in. When the doctor came in he was eating a snack or eating something. And he came in and started having a conversation with the nurses,” Shankar recalls, noting the doctor seemed to be “dismissive.”

She claims the doctors and nurses were “making jokes” about her father’s condition. Eventually, she says the doctor came over to her father, not wearing any gloves or face covering, and began examining him.

“He started to touch his neck and do a very minor assessment on him,” she recalls.

Shankar says she raised her concerns with a pair of nurses, “and they both confirmed that this doctor has been addressed several times to wear masks and proper PPE, and he doesn’t because he has an allergic reaction.”

Shankar also claims she’s confirmed the same doctor works “with infectious disease patients, including COVID” and that he, again, doesn’t wear the appropriate PPE.

“The charge nurse flat out said there was nothing he could do. There was nothing he could do to have a doctor, who’s supposed to be abiding by rules and safety measures, there was nothing he could do to get him to wear his PPE,” she says, adding she made several calls to the COVID-hotline, 8-1-1, and various departments and authorities, to no avail.

That’s when she decided to turn to social media.

To make matters worse, Shankar was later told her dad had to go into self-isolation because of a COVID-19 outbreak in his ward. She says neither she nor her family had been informed until she called the hospital ward.

Fraser Health ‘troubled to learn’ about woman’s experience

Fraser Health has since reached out to her, promising to investigate.

In a statement to NEWS 1130, the health authority says it’s troubled to learn about what was happening at RCH and that it intends to follow up.

“We are reaching out to them directly to learn more about the concerns they have shared,” the statement reads. “All Fraser Health staff and medical staff are expected to wear appropriate personal protective equipment when in patient care areas, and follow all appropriate COVID-19 safety guidelines, and infection prevention and control protocols. To support our staff, we provide frequent educational sessions on use of personal protective equipment.”

Shankar says her father is still struggling with his breathing, however, it’s believed his symptoms are related to underlying issues and his previous heart attack.

He has been tested for COVID-19 and was awaiting the results at the time of the interview.

In a follow-up Instagram post Tuesday afternoon, Shankar explains changes were made.

“Since this interview this doctor has agreed to take proper measures to wear PPE and has been followed up with by the Medical Director of RCH, however, is not mandated to be in isolation as he has no symptoms right now. My dad has no symptoms and is negative but is mandated to and may be moved back to the same ward that has the outbreak with other potential exposed patients. Pending an update!” she writes.