Bed bug infestation at Winnipeg hotel ‘disgusting experience,’ family says


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After discovering bed bugs in his room at a Winnipeg hospital-adjacent hotel, a Teulon man drove home in the middle of the night as his young son was recovering from surgery.

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After discovering bed bugs in his room at a Winnipeg hospital-adjacent hotel, a Teulon man drove home in the middle of the night as his young son was recovering from surgery.

“He drove all the way home, just to come back the next day, right, because he wants to be close to his son,” said Whitney Bergstrom, who stayed with the couple’s 12-year-old while her husband Chris drove over an hour away with all of their travel belongings — which he left outdoors to guard against bringing in the blood-hungry pests.

On Tuesday, the family was waiting for confirmation of their refund after reporting bed bugs in their booked room last week at Canad Inns Health Sciences Centre on William Avenue.


Photo of what Whitney Bergstrom describes as bed bug feces on a mattress at the Canad Inns Health Sciences Centre location on William Avenue.

“We were just so naive. We really thought it was held to a higher standard,” Whitney said.

Their son had surgery March 12. While Whitney stayed with their son in the HSC Children’s Hospital post-surgery, Chris stayed in the neighbouring hotel for four nights.

After the first night, he had red marks on his face, but they chalked it up to stress, Whitney said. “There’s so much going on, we’re not really thinking.”

The couple didn’t suspect bed bugs until Chris’s head, neck, shoulders and back were covered in bites, some in line formations, she said. “Sure enough, when my husband flipped over the mattress, there was a bug.”

On the underside of the box spring, without pulling up the slipcover, the couple said, there was a hole.

“They were coming out of the hole and he was putting them in a cup. It was absolutely disgusting,” Whitney said, offering pictures of the reported bed bug infestation.

At first, the family was offered another room, she said, but they opted to check out of the hotel instead and were promised a refund.

Chris drove home around 1:30 a.m. because there was nowhere else for him to stay in the city. They’d booked the hotel room to have as a “home base” during their son’s hospital stay, thinking it would relieve some stress, Whitney said.

Their son is immune-compromised and wouldn’t have fared well dealing with bed bugs, Whitney said. They’d planned for him to spend time at the hotel once he was well enough to leave the hospital; luckily, his mother said, that didn’t happen.

“We’re pretty fortunate, but it was still a disgusting experience. I really just think about the other families,” she said.

“I guess I was naive, but in my head it was like: this hotel that’s attached to a hospital, that on-call doctors stay at, specialists stay at, sick children and patients stay at, it’s got to be cleaner. They’ve got to have higher standards.”

Neither the general manager of Canad Inns HSC nor the hotel chain’s corporate office returned messages requesting comment Tuesday.

A Shared Health spokesperson directed questions to the hotel, saying it is owned and operated independent from HSC.

“Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg follows an established process for the management of bed bugs in clinical settings. This includes infection prevention and control precautions, contact precautions and specialized bed bug cleaning where bed bug infestation (defined as more than one bed bug) or evidence of bedbugs are identified,” the spokesperson said.

Katie May

Katie May

Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.

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