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

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Tax error in 2020 means lower rate for residents in 2021

Alberni’s taxation for regional library accidently written down twice

Part of a new housing development proposal for the former Alberni District Secondary School site. (SCREENSHOT)
Housing gap widens in Port Alberni

Vancouver Island city suffers from ‘missing middle’ to housing density

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires Vancouver Island wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

The Port Alberni Train Station is located outside the entrance to Harbour Quay, on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Port Alberni gets funding to restore heritage train station

Historic train station needs seismic upgrades

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

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

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Most Read