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Violence in hospitals at "epidemic proportions," says union following shooting


Man in stable condition following shooting at BC hospital

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC hospitals need better security to protect staff and patients, according to the provincial nurses’ union, after a man walked into a Grand Forks emergency room and shot himself Thursday.

The man didn’t say a word as he entered Boundary District Hospital and shot himself in the head, according to the BC Nurses Union (BCNU). He was airlifted to a Vancouver-area hospital and remains in stable condition.

No other patients of staff were hurt, but the incident highlights a need for better security and more action to prevent violence against hospital staff according to BCNU president Gayle Duteil.

“Nurses are routinely removing weapons from patients; those are most often knives,” Duetil says. “Hospitals used to be a sanctuary, a place of peace and health; not anymore.”

In August police responded to calls of an axe wielding man at Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace. The man was tasered and needed medical care but later died.

Duetil points to American hospitals where in some cases patients must pass by a security check point, sometimes including a metal detector, before they can entre the hospital. She says speaking with health care providers in Ottawa, the city is considering equipping staff with metal detector wands so they can scan patients before they touch them.

Although she doesn’t expect metal detectors to pop up in small communities like Grand Forks, Duteil says more needs to be done to improve safety.

BCNU has spoken with Interior Health Authority (IHA) are considering partnering to investigate the incident and figure out what do next.

“I know it’s a top priority, the safety of patients, staff and physicians,” IHA’s Karen Bloemink says. “We have agreed to work collaboratively with BCNU in terms of reviewing this incident, to understand what occurred and also understand if there may be changes that might need to come as a result of the review.”