Ryan Bentson filmed his experience at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Feb. 7, 2021. He was arrested and removed for not complying with the hospital’s mask mandate. (Ryan Bentson - Facebook)

Ryan Bentson filmed his experience at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Feb. 7, 2021. He was arrested and removed for not complying with the hospital’s mask mandate. (Ryan Bentson - Facebook)

Vernon man with double lung transplant arrested for not wearing mask in hospital

Face shields vs. masks: Double lung transplant recipient argues they’re the same

A Vernon man was issued two fines by RCMP Sunday, Feb. 7, after refusing to abide by Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s mandatory mask mandate. Although, in a video shared to social media, he claims the face shield he was wearing was sufficient.

Police were called around 2:45 p.m. to deal with an individual who refused to abide by the mandatory COVID-19 protocols, but Vernon North Okanagan RCMP said the man left the premises after they attempted to have him comply.

Media relations officer Const. Chris Terleski said the same man contacted police around 6:40 p.m. expressing his concerns. He was once again explained the COVID-19 protocols and was warned that should he return without following VJH’s protocols, he could face fines and would be removed from the property.

The man returned again around 9 p.m. wearing a face shield and carrying his smartphone filming the event.

Ryan Bentson, 53, who had a double lung transplant in 2011, said in the video he shared to social media that he was exempt from wearing a medical mask and refused to put a mask on when asked by hospital staff.

The more than three-minute-long video shows Bentson arguing with hospital staff and RCMP stating face shields and masks are the same and that his wearing of the face shield has never been an issue before at VJH. Bentson alleged when he was in hospital earlier that day, he had been assaulted by a pair of security guards.

In the video, Bentson says he’s worn the face shield to hospital appointments before and it hasn’t been an issue. The Emergency Program Act mask mandate order states “a face shield is not a substitute for a mask as it has an opening below the mouth.”

The officer, who had previously spoken with Bentson, again gave him the opportunity to comply, Terleski said.

“When it became clear the individual was not going to abide by the requirements, the officer arrested the man and removed him from the property,” RCMP said in a statement.

Bentson was issued two fines and, he said, was handcuffed, put into a police car, and was driven home where he was released.

“Our health-care professionals have a responsibility to ensure that regulations mandated by the provincial health order are followed in order to safeguard all patients and members of the public,” Terleski said.

“Our emphasis has always been to encourage compliance of COVID-19 restrictions through education and awareness,” Terleski said. “However, when required we will take the reasonable and necessary enforcement action to support the Public Health Order and safeguard members of the public.”

Bentson, who goes to VJH once a month for blood work, missed both scheduled appointments Sunday, and declined to go back to VJH Monday for a scheduled breathing test.

“I don’t feel safe going to the hospital anymore,” said Bentson, adding Sunday’s visits have left him “stunned, shocked and shaken.”

READ MORE: Goose cull on target for Vernon

READ MORE: Missing Keremeos girl found safe by RCMP


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Hazelton school COVID-19 closure extended one week

With spring break on horizon, Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary will be closed to end of March

BC CDC graphic showing weekly numbers of new cases by local health area.
Local health area records 11 new COVID-19 cases from Feb. 21 to 27

The Northwest has become the COVID hotspot in the province

The Smithers recycling depot was destroyed by fire May 9, 2019. (Thom Barker photo)
Curbside recycling pickup returns to Smithers

The Town will start collecting single stream, loose and clean residential recyclables April 12

Adam's Igloo sustained serious damage when the roof collapsed. (Facebook photo)
Roof collapses on Smithers landmark

Cleanup efforts underway at Adams Igloo and Wildlife Museum

Instructor and master artist Dempsey Bob (right) speaks to the crowd at the Terrace Art Gallery about the importance of cultural art on Feb. 7, 2020. Bob is a recipient of a 2021 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts Artistic Achievement Award. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Northwest artist Dempsey Bob wins national art award

Renowned Tahltan-Tlingit master carver one of eight people to receive Governor General’s Arts Award

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read