Health Minister Adrian Dix has appointed a special investigator to look into allegations that health care workers played a game to guess the blood-alcohol levels of Indigenous patients, and possibly others.

The Health Minister has asked Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond to investigate. She is a lawyer, judge and children’s rights advocate and spent two terms as British Columbia’s Representative for Children and Youth.

Dix says that on Thursday evening he was made aware “of serious allegations of racist and completely abhorrent practices in an emergency room or emergency rooms in BC.”

He calls such practices, “Intolerable, unacceptable and racist.”

Dix says the allegations require an immediate and swift response.

“We need to get to the root of these problems, and that begins with an understanding that racist attitudes and actions have a real and devastating impact on health outcomes, creating trauma that can affect generations.”

The health minister says Turpel-Lafond will determine how widespread these attitudes are at a systemic level in our health-care system.

“We need to get to the root of these problems, and that begins with an understanding that racist attitudes and actions have a real and devastating impact on health outcomes, creating trauma that can affect generations.”

Premier John Horgan says allegations of dehumanizing and racist behaviour involving Indigenous people at hospitals will be thoroughly investigated.

The premier says he’s outraged by reports of “ugly, anti-indigenous, racist behaviour at multiple health-care facilities in BC.”

Horgan says there is no excuse and no explaining this away.

The premier says Health Minister Adrian Dix will work with Indigenous leaders and Indigenous health care leaders to investigate the circumstances.

There are no details available about where, or at how many hospitals the betting took place and it’s unclear who may have participated.

-with files from Mike Patterson