Why should publicly funded hospitals get to limit access on religious grounds?
BY WENDY GLAUSER
Feb. 23, 2022 / MARCH-APRIL 2022 issue, Walrus Magazine
IN THE FALL OF 2020, Susan Camm was among a small group of employees touring a brand new seventeen-storey tower at St. Michael’s Hospital, in downtown Toronto. She liked the large single-patient rooms—a hallmark of modern hospital design—and the big windows that filled the space with sunshine. But something caught her eye: a brass crucifix on the wall. “I had an almost visceral reaction,” she recalls.
Camm, who was then a clinical manager at the hospital, had come across crucifixes at St. Michael’s before. But most had been taken down over the years. What shocked her is that the Christian symbols were in brand new rooms. This wasn’t a decision someone had made decades ago; it was one made in 2020. Later, when she had the chance to enter a patient room alone, she dragged a stool over to the crucifix, stood up, and tried to pull the figure off the wall. Unlike the ones in older rooms, it wasn’t simply hanging on a nail. She would have needed a chisel to pry it off.