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

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

City of Port Alberni applies for grant funding for Quay to Quay pathway

Pathway connecting Harbour Quay and Victoria Quay could come with a $7 million price tag

Food trucks find space at Clutesi Haven Marina in Port Alberni

‘Food truck pod’ is a partnership between city, port authority and Tseshaht First Nation

Guest choreographer takes the ice with Mount Arrowsmith skaters

Mount Arrowsmith skating season is underway, with COVID-19 protocols in place

RCMP investigating after tires slashed in Port Alberni neighbourhood

RCMP are looking for anyone with information or video surveillance

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Most Read