Don Linklater’s day pass from St. Paul’s Hospital was supposed to be a pleasant one as he waits for reconstructive surgery on his face. But what he noticed upon returning to the Saskatoon hospital late Saturday was startling.
“There’s a bag I had new sweats in, they’re gone. The first thing I noticed was my glasses were gone. My overnight pack with all of my shaving stuff in, it disappeared,” Linklater said.
He had been robbed.
According to his daughter Michelle, it’s because there is no secure place to lock up items in many of the rooms. To make matters worse, she said there’s a pattern of stealing from patients at the hospital.
“There is such a problem here at St. Paul’s Hospital. There’s no way of locking up your belongings in the closet and I feel that’s very problematic,” Michelle Linklater explained.
But that’s not all. After asking around, she found out that there’s an alleged “black market” for stolen goods hidden in plain sight.
“Out at the main entrance here, I’ve been enlightened that there are a lot of sales going on. There’s a good probability that I will be able to buy my dad’s glasses back,” she explained.
One long-term patient, who asked not to be identified by name, had money stolen from his room on Saturday and sleeps with his prosthetic leg, scared it will get taken.
“It’s worth $6,000, that’s why someone is going to take it … sell it,” the patient said.
He also said there are sales happening right at the main entrance.
Global News reached out to Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) for a response. An interview was declined, but the following statement was provided:
“While Saskatoon Health Region cannot assume responsibility for lost or stolen property, we understand how distressing losing these items can be. We do advise patients coming to hospital to avoid bringing any valuable items with them for the duration of their stay.
“The region does provide closets and bedside tables in patient rooms so that patients can store any personal items away and out of sight. We encourage patients and families to report any lost or stolen items to the nursing unit and the region’s security services team.”
For the Linklaters that’s not enough, they want changes made so all patients can have access to a lockable storage unit.
“Whether I get my stuff back or not, it’s not the main issue. I think there needs to be more awareness down here,” Don Linklater said.