I was detained and assaulted when I went to Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette emergency department with a head wound
Article appears on page 3 of the June 2022 issue of Druthers newspaper, titled ‘Detained & assaulted for seeking medical treatment maskless.‘
When I went to Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette emergency on April 20th 2022, with a bleeding gash from an impact to my forehead, I knew I might be hassled for my mask exemption. But I did not expect to be harassed and assaulted by staff and police.
Emergency room staff refused to allow me past the entrance without a mask. They expected me to provide “an exemption,” as if exemption is some kind of physical token, rather than an inherent status. They clarified: they wanted me to get permission to defend my exemption, in the form of a doctor’s note.
Masking is a treatment as described in Ontario’s Health Care Consent Act (‘preventive’). To claim that a person needs a doctor’s permission to decline unwanted treatment is backward: doctors require our permission. We don’t require theirs. That’s why the Act states, “No treatment without consent.”
I made it clear that I simply can not cover my face, and the details are between me and a doctor I trust.
Nurses called security. Citing “policy,” they responded to my exemption like incessantly hissing vipers. “You need treatment. Wear a mask and you can have treatment. Just wear a mask.” I told them a mask would harm me. “No it won’t. Wear a mask. Just wear a mask.” To my accompanying friend they said, “Tell her to wear a mask. Get her to wear a mask and then we’ll treat her.” This lasting harassment was flippant, disturbing and dehumanizing.
My friend recorded some of the abuse. Security physically pushed her out of the hospital, threatening her with criminal charges for “violating patient privacy.” Yet, she wasn’t recording patients. The hospital has many security cameras near the entrance, and does not ask patient permission to record. If my friend was violating patient privacy, the hospital violates patient privacy every day.
I was left to defend myself alone at Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette emergency as security guards and police surrounded me to intimidate, joining with nurses to form a group of about ten. The group ordered me to either wear a covering on my face or exit the hospital and seek treatment elsewhere.
I chose not to exit the hospital because, like all Canadians, I have a right to receive medical treatment. The Canada Health Act states, “In order to satisfy the criterion respecting universality, the health care insurance plan of a province must entitle one hundred per cent of the insured persons of the province to the insured health services provided for by the plan on uniform terms and conditions.”
I was certain that if I left Ouellette emergency, I would be denied treatment by covidian bigots anywhere I sought treatment. My right to receive treatment was in effect at all hospitals, including this one. I stood my ground.
A blonde police officer threatened that I would be arrested, taken to the police station, booked, and then taken right back to the hospital as per police policy because I was wounded, “and then you are going to wear a mask.” The officer was clearly threatening to suffocate me by force, strategically using general phrasing in a context of force, with the intent to absolve herself of issuing the threat on a technicality.
Many times, she forcefully repeated her threat, “You are going to be arrested and charged and then you are going to wear a mask.” I informed her every time that I was not going to wear a mask, because I can not wear a mask. “Processing me will waste your time, because we will just end up in this discussion again. What is the next step?” I said.
Shortly thereafter, she aggressively handcuffed me and ordered me to exit through the doors.
I sat down on the floor. I was too tired to cooperate with this nonsense, and I would not validate attempts by police and hospital staff to violate my right to receive needed, consented medical treatment.
With blood dripping into my left eye, I was carried from the emergency room in handcuffs for insisting I receive care. Because carrying me by my arms put most of my bodyweight onto my wrists, this injured me very painfully. The blonde officer belittled me for “acting like a child.”
I waited quite a while, surrounded by police and security, sitting on the ground with my mouth and throat too dry from stress to talk much, disallowed access to my water bottle.
I was then helped to my feet and introduced to a professionally-dressed man: Luke DiPaolo, the hospital’s director of Psychiatry. He asked me what had happened. I described the events up to this point.
DiPaolo acknowledged that I had a right to treatment, and was to be treated with my exemption respected. I had been in the right the entire time, and yet still I suffered all this abuse, while injured, for insisting I receive treatment for a serious head wound.
The blonde officer removed the handcuffs. I held up my bright red, indented, inflamed wrists. “So I have a right to treatment,” I said, “and yet you did this to me.”
She practically shouted in response, “We had to remove you! You were blocking the door!”
This was an absolute lie. I had been standing with my back to the wall the entire time I was inside the emergency department. If anyone was blocking the door, it was the gang of police, nurses and security. I never blocked anyone from coming or going. I had no motive whatsoever to block people from seeking treatment. It was the police and security presence that would deter patients from entering, just as they were stopping me from entering.
I responded to the officer’s lie by informing everyone present that I had not blocked anyone’s way, and I had never even been accused of blocking the entrance until now.
“We didn’t have a chance to say anything to you!” lied the officer, “You kept going on and on citing laws!”
I had cited laws while giving others plenty of time to respond. I did not in any way prevent the officer from saying anything she may have wanted to say to me. I was detained under false allegations of trespassing because I insisted upon receiving rightful medical treatment while exempt from face coverings.
I replied that what the blonde officer said was not true, and left it at that. I felt dreamy with relief that I would actually be treated.
I was left to reenter Ouellette emergency unaccompanied, and when the entranceway nurses saw me, they again pushed a mask toward me and told me to wear it. Apparently, they thought that the altercation had broken me, and that I had been released and allowed treatment for agreeing to let them assault me further by covering my face. When I explained the true situation, they didn’t believe me.
I asked for tissues, because my wound was again dripping into my eye, and I was using my finger as an awning to divert the flow. The nurses refused to provide me with a tissue. I used their mask to sop up some blood and threw it in the bin beneath the small counter.
I had to escort a nurse to learn the truth from the blonde officer outside, and I had to listen to the nurses complain in hateful disgust while I completed the covid screening form.
Later in the waiting room, the emergency room’s manager, Kuljeet Kalsi, sat down to speak with me. He used the false pretense of caring about my wound as a point of entry for further attempts to badger me into covering my face, and spent ten to twenty minutes “asking” me “politely” to cover my face. He did not let up when I told him how traumatizing the recent abuse had been.
Kalsi claimed that his reason for continuing to push masking on me was because people in his position care about patients. I told him briefly about the sexual assaults (obstetric violence) I endured at Windsor Regional Hospital in 2019. I described how police had refused to acknowledge the assaults because the perpetrators were medical staff. I asked him how, when police consistently treat medical staff as though they are above the law and medical staff embrace this privilege, can he expect me to believe that people like him care about patient wellbeing? He didn’t have an answer for me.
Kalsi rushed me with phony verbal acknowledgements when I was speaking. He focused solely on “asking” me to wear a mask, repeatedly “asking politely,” when it was nothing of the sort. It was pushy, uncaring, manipulative and creepy. That he used a polite tone was a blatant attempt to manipulate me to cover my face in shame. After everything that his emergency ward had just put me through, Kuljeet Kalsi’s badgering session was particularly inappropriate.
In the end, I received zero tickets and five stitches at Ouellette emergency. I never wore a mask or shield, because I can not cover my face. Sorry police, nurses, security; sorry Kalsi and crew, I’m just not going to do it. I’ve never done it, and I never will, because I can’t. Sorry. The answer is no.
What I experienced was abuse, but it ended in victory. I proved my case by standing my ground and, although I was criminally harassed and assaulted by state employees in the process, I achieved my goal.
The fight isn’t done until the fight is won. Tyrannical abuses are now a tool in my hands. I have already filed a report with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director. I have also submitted a report in writing to the patient advocate at Windsor Regional’s Ouellette Campus, Angela D’Alessandro, for this matter to be taken the way to the top. Because crimes were committed, I expect to also press criminal charges. I will take this as far as I possibly can to achieve justice and repair the damage done by covidian hysteria to our public services.
If you’re inspired by my story, please remember it the next time you have an opportunity to just say “No.”