A Petit-Rocher, N.B., man says a staffer at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst reprimanded him and made him feel unwelcome after going to the emergency room in search of care.
Now he wants the staffer to be held accountable for discouraging him from trying to access care for what he felt was a medical emergency.
"I don't want anybody else to go through the same thing," said Jordan Aubie. "I don't think that's right at all."
Aubie works as a rotational worker just north of Fort McMurray, Alta.
On April 27, he tested positive for COVID-19 at his worksite. As per the company's protocol, he was quarantined in a designated building on the site, where he spent five days, followed by an extra eight-day stay at an Edmonton hotel.
On May 8, he flew back to New Brunswick, where he's been self-isolating in a friend's trailer in Beresford. He's awaiting results of a test he took on Friday to find out if he still has the coronavirus.
Chest pain, discomfort
Just days into his isolation, however, Aubie said he began to experience chest pain and discomfort. At the advice of a Tele-Care 811 nurse, he drove himself to the Chaleur Regional Hospital to get checked out.
Upon arriving, he told staff he'd recently tested positive for COVID-19 and was in self-isolation. He was put in an isolated room to wait to be seen.
"Then the nurse came in, and the first thing that came out of her mouth was, 'Don't take this the wrong way, but we don't want you here,'" Aubie said.
"My reaction to that was kind of stunned at first. And I basically told her, I said, 'I don't want to be here either, but I need medical attention. That's why I'm here.'"
Aubie said after a few hours, he was seen by a physician. As he was about to leave the hospital, Aubie said the same nurse spoke to him and told him that he wasn't "supposed to be here. You're supposed to be on quarantine."
Aubie said he told her he called 811 and they told him to go to the hospital.
He said the nurse also discouraged him from seeking treatment at any other area hospital ERs.
Health Department says 811 right to refer Aubie to ER
Gail Harding, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said in an email that Tele-Care 811 did the right thing by telling Aubie to seek medical attention at the nearest ER.
"Anyone experiencing a medical emergency should seek medical attention by calling 911," she said.
"Emergency rooms in the province are equipped, and have processes in place, to admit patients who are COVID-19 positive, and potentially COVID-19 positive."
Thomas Lizotte, spokesperson for Vitalité Health Network, said in an email it does not recommend that anyone who's self-isolating go to the ER, unless they need to.
"However, staff are trained and equipped with PPE to take care of all patients at arrival," he said.
Lizotte said Vitalité doesn't comment on specific cases regarding patients.
As the pain got worse, Aubie said he went back to the Chaleur Regional's ER a day later, at a different time of day and encountered different staff. He said they treated him much better.