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

Duncan Christian’s Grace George lines up a shot during the three-point portion of the BC School Sports Pandemic Basketball Challenge after taking a pass from Cam Stevens. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan Christian leads the way in pandemic basketball challenge

School tops participation numbers for second time this year

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

‘It was a great week for Jan Pullinger, MLA. She accompanied Andrew Petter, the new Minister of Health to Lake Cowichan. He credited her with saving the Youbou mill. Left to right, Jan, Petter and Sam Beldessi, president of the Cowichan Seniors. Pullinger and Petter were visiting the Seniors’ Centre.’ (Lake News, March 6, 1996)
Lake Flashback: A new library, Peewee sports, and a resignation

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Pedestrians have rights to use highways

A highway is not the exclusive domain of drivers.

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has stepped up, in spite of COVID, for a number of charities. (Submitted)
Sahtlam firefighters step up

Sahtlam Volunteer Firefighters Association has a long history of supporting charities

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read