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

Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

Heart of the City – Jason Scherr

Try and Try again - Prince Rupert Seamen Rugby Club

No COVID-19 public exposures in the North Health Region at this time

Northern Health Authority issued a statement on Sept. 17

Tax penalties of 10 per cent to be applied by City if not paid on time

Prince Rupert Property taxes for certain non-residential properties are due by Sept. 30

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read