The 37-year-old Vernon man was arrested by police but has since been released with a future court date. (Black Press Media file)

Man arrested after nurse assaulted at Kelowna hospital’s COVID-19 screening desk

The incident occurred on May 13, just after 2 p.m.

This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. on May 15 with a comment from Interior Health.

The BC Nurses’ Union is demanding answers after a nurse at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) was assaulted on May 13.

The union claims the nurse, working in the emergency department at the COVID-19 screening desk, was struck and verbally assaulted by an irate patient.

KGH is one of a few hospitals in the province that is supposed to provide security in the emergency room at all hours, part of a pilot project led by the nurses union and Interior Health in 2018.

Union president Christine Sorensen said in addition to the incident, she’s concerned the COVID-19 screening desk did not have a plexiglass shield installed.

“Not only did this nurse experience a traumatizing incident that left her with physical injuries; she is also working through a pandemic, on the frontlines, in a high-risk area, without the appropriate infection control measures in place,” said Sorensen.

“This screening desk is the first point of access to the emergency department. It’s unacceptable to think Interior Health would not take all of the necessary precautions to protect nurses and health care workers.”

In an emailed statement, Interior Health said when the incident occurred, a security officer intervened immediately.

“Interior Health takes all incidents of aggressive behaviour at our sites very seriously. Safety for patients, staff, physicians and the public is a key component to our ability to deliver health services,” read the statement.

“Keeping our health care staff safe at work in particular is a top priority and we are fully committed to continued focus on both physical and psychological safety in the workplace.

“There is a dedicated 24-hour security presence in the emergency department at Kelowna General Hospital. Additionally, as part of the pandemic response, staff members who interact directly with patients are all provided with appropriate personal protective equipment.”

A 37-year-old Vernon man has been arrested in relation to the incident.

The nurse suffered non-life threatening injuries. Mounties will refer reports to the BC Prosecution Service to determine if charges will be laid.

Anyone with any information about this crime can contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

READ MORE: Kelowna cab driver accused of sexual assault has trial postponed due to COVID-19

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP seek witnesses to a serious late-April crash along Highway 97


Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at daniel.taylor@kelownacapnews.com
Follow me on Twitter

HealthRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Alberni Valley, West Coast First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Kitchen fire sends one to hospital in Port Alberni

Apartment block evacuated after sprinkler system was set off

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Most Read