Scent-free please: Patient upset over apparent perfume use by Yellowknife hospital staff

A patient at the Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife claims members of the hospital staff are using perfume, despite its scent-free policy.

Patient says she told staff at Stanton Territorial Hospital about the problem, but nothing changed

A stock photo of a collection of assorted perfume bottles. A patient at the Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife claims members of the hospital staff are using perfume, despite its scent-free policy. (CP)

A patient at the Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife claims members of the hospital staff are using perfume, despite its scent-free policy.

"The staff, the doctor, the clinic coordinator, and house staff people using perfume in a non-scented hospital," said Nala Boddy.

When I ask if they're wearing perfume, they just kind of give an explanation as to maybe it's my shampoo.- Nala Boddy

A poster in the hospital outlines the possible effects of scented products on people, including skin irritation, nausea, and shortness of breath. It also says that even small amounts of scents can trigger an attack.

"I have a very sensitive nose, and I can smell it," said Boddy. She said the scents give her nausea and a headache, because of her allergies.

Boddy has been at the hospital since September and she said she noticed the perfume right away. She notified the staff of the problem, but nothing ever came of it. And she can still smell the perfume on a daily basis.

"When I ask if they're wearing perfume, they just kind of give an explanation as to maybe it's my shampoo, maybe it's my hand cream," said Boddy.

"We all know that it's perfume, obviously."

Perfume is not the only trigger for people who are allergic to scents; shampoo, conditioner, soaps, lotion, and hairspray can also cause a reaction, according to the poster at the hospital.

'It's like they don't know how to read'

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority is responsible for the design and delivery of territorial health and social services in the Northwest Territories, and it promotes a scent free workplace.

The Stanton Territorial Hospital has a scent-free policy to accommodate people with allergies. (Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority)

"Scented products shall not be worn by any employee as these may precipitate allergies or sensitivities in patients, visitors or other employees," said David Maguire communications manager for the health authority.

Posters with "Be Scent-sitive! DO NOT use scented products" are displayed throughout Stanton Territorial Hospital.

Boddy said she is frustrated with the staff. "It's like they don't know how to read, or they pretend they don't notice the sign," said Boddy.

Boddy is checking out of the hospital in the coming days, but said she wants to bring attention to this issue in case others have the same allergies as her.