Montreal

Quebec City hospital employees fight suspensions for helping dog rescued from hot car

Four employees of a Quebec City hospital who helped a dog found semi-conscious in a hot car are contesting their suspensions for bringing the dog inside to give it water and let it cool off.

L'enfant Jésus hospital administrators say rules are rules and only certain dogs are allowed

All four employees work at the Enfant Jésus hospital in Quebec City. (Radio-Canada)

Four employees of a Quebec City hospital who helped a dog found semi-conscious in a hot car are contesting their suspensions for bringing the dog inside to give it water and let it cool off.

On July 5, two employees of L'enfant Jésus hospital noticed the dog in a parked car with its window down just a few centimetres.

When the pair checked on the dog two hours later, they found it semi-conscious and sprawled out on the back seat.

Worried that the dog might die, the employees forced the car's window down and brought the animal into the hospital's air-conditioned message centre, where they and two other employees gave the dog water and called police.

The hospital later handed down suspensions ranging from three to eight days to the four employees for allowing an unauthorized dog in the health-care facility.

Only some dogs allowed

In an email response to CBC, the CHU de Québec, the hospital's administrators, said only guide dogs and dogs assisting hospital users, their families or other visitors with disabilities are allowed inside the hospital.

The CHU de Quebec says the dog's presence was unauthorized and broke the hospital's rules concerning the prevention and control of infections.

A spokesperson for the union representing one of the employees said the suspension will only deter others from doing the right thing in similar circumstances.

"What should they have done — let the animal die?" said Ann Gingras of the CSN. "The message it sends out to people, mind your own business and if you see someone or something in distress, don't do anything about it."  

The employees have about 30 years service between them and are devastated by the suspensions, said Isabelle Laperrière of the FTQ-affiliated Public Service Alliance of Canada.

"They've been loyal employees," she said.

Gingras said her union has filed a grievance against the CHU de Quebec on behalf of the employee.

The union representing the three other suspended employees, the FTQ, has also filed grievances.

With files from Peter Tardif