Nova Scotia

Bedbug victim says Halifax hospital made him change outside

A Halifax man riddled with bedbug bites says he was treated unfairly at a Halifax hospital this fall when he was told to change his clothes outside in the cold.

Capital Health won't confirm its bedbug policy

John Stevens says he was told he had to put his clothes on outside the hospital after he was released from the QEII emergency department six weeks ago. Stevens has bed bugs in his Halifax apartment and has been bitten dozens of times. (CBC)

A Halifax man riddled with bedbug bites says he was treated unfairly at a Halifax hospital this fall when he was told to change his clothes outside in the cold.

John Stevens said he's been living with bedbugs in his Halifax apartment for several months.

Bug bites, some fresh and some healed over, are all over his arms and legs.

He said his Metro Housing Authority apartment has been sprayed several times, but the bugs persist.

"You know something, I got to be truthful, I'm getting used to it, and that's sad."

Stevens said he was feeling dizzy and weak on Oct. 30 when paramedics took him to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre.

After seeing his bite marks he said he was told to strip down, take a shower and put on hospital clothes.

When he was released hours later, in the middle of the night, the temperature was around the freezing mark.

I grew up in Canada. I grew up in Nova Scotia and I expected better than what I received.- John Stevens

Stevens claims staff said he would have to put his clothes on outside.

"I said, ‘Did I mishear something’ and she said, ‘No I told you, you have to get dressed outside. It's a policy,’” he said.

“Handed me my clothes and said goodbye."

A spokesperson for Capital Health couldn't confirm the details about the hospital's bedbug policy.

Bedbugs can be a major issue for hospitals. Just last month the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton had to close down some of its examination rooms after a patient arrived with bedbugs. Parts of the hospital had to be sprayed.

Extreme measures, says pest expert

Pest management specialist Kelly Mercer said the hospital in Halifax over-reacted, if Stevens's account is accurate. 

"Basically all you would have to do is do a quick cleaning of the area and an inspection and that would be it. But to have him re-dress outside, that's too much, that's way too much,” he said.

Stevens said he’s speaking out hoping no one else receives this kind of treatment.

"I grew up in Canada. I grew up in Nova Scotia and I expected better than what I received."


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