Alberta’s health-care inquiry has heard testimony that paperwork was fudged and that Calgary Flames players and their families were directed to lie to cover up the team receiving fast-tracked pandemic flu shots at a private clinic in 2009.
Calgary health nurse Debbie Hyman says while 150 of the Flames and their loved ones were getting the H1N1 shots in private at the office of team doctor Jim Thorne, hundreds of ordinary Calgarians were cussing, yelling, fainting, and fighting while standing in line for hours for the same shot at public clinics.
“There was a lot of anger [and] hostility,” Ms. Hyman told retired Justice John Vertes on Monday, recalling conditions in the early days at the public clinics. “There were times where I felt unsafe. There were times where I felt the staff were being threatened.”
Ms. Hyman was one of two nurses who testified about the NHL team getting the shots in late October, 2009, to combat the deadly virus.
Nurse Michelle Bosch testified that Mr. Thorne, whom she knows through her husband, called her on the second day after the vaccinations were released to see what could be done for the Flames. She suggested a private clinic.
Both nurses testified that having the Flames come down to a public clinic would have resulted in a calamitous “sideshow,” with people in line calling in the celebrity sighting to their friends and bringing a stampede of fans to their Brentwood facility.
Ms. Hyman said she left a voice message with her direct supervisor asking for a call back if a private vaccination for the team was not allowed. Three days later, after hearing nothing back from her boss,
Ms. Hyman and Ms. Bosch took 200 doses over to Mr. Thorne’s clinic and administered the vaccine.
Ms. Hyman said while the shots were being distributed, Mr. Thorne was coaching patients on what to say.
“He was the one that was telling people, ‘If you are asked, just say that you received your vaccine at Brentwood,’ ” Ms. Hyman told the inquiry.