No Exceptions: Hospital refuses surgery for patient with inability to wear mask

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After waiting several months for medical care, Judy Campney says she was denied surgery at Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) in Cobourg, Ontario on the morning of August 27 because of her inability to wear a mask.

I reached out to the media contact, Jennifer Gillard, at NHH with some questions:

  • Was Campney denied surgery? If so, why? 
  • What is the policy regarding denying treatment to people who are exempt from wearing masks? Does hospital policy take precedence over a surgeon's advice? 
  • How many people have been denied treatment in the hospital since the mandatory mask policy came into effect?

Her response?

Tamara, thanks for the opportunity to comment. NHH is following a universal masking policy across the hospital in light of COVID-19. The need to mask continues to be consistently communicated to all of our patients and visitors, including surgical patients.

It is not the intention of the hospital to see any patient denied treatment. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss any particular situation with the patient directly to better understand why a mask could not be worn, and to explore options together that would ensure the protection of both patients and the care team.

Kind regards,


This bureaucrat's response does not answer any of the questions I posed. Patients and the public deserve answers. They need to know: will a hospital deny my treatment if I can't wear a mask?

Campney says she is now so traumatized and humiliated that she has lost faith in the medical system and is contemplating abandoning it completely for alternative methods of treatment.

Is this the future of medicine?

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