Update: Police ID psych patient accused of assaulting doctor at Penticton hospital

Nurses' union says patient calmly walked out of a closed-door meeting and announced doctor may have been dead

Gregory Stanley Nield, 30, has been identified as the patient accused of attacking a doctor Friday in the psychiatric ward at Penticton Regional Hospital.

Penticton RCMP said in a press release issued Monday the doctor suffered a broken jaw and other facial injuries during the altercation.

Nield is in custody and has been charged with assault causing bodily harm and aggravated assault. He’s due back in provincial court in Penticton on Tuesday.

The Summerland man has been featured several times in the sports section of the Western News for his achievements in the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

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Posted: 2:33 p.m.

A doctor is “lucky to be alive” after being assaulted by a psychiatric patient Friday at Penticton Regional Hospital.

Interior Health CEO Robert Halpenny said the doctor was conducting an interview with the patient in the PRH psychiatric unit around 4 p.m. when there was a “violent altercation.”

Halpenny declined in a conference call with reporters Monday to elaborate on the  extent of the damage to the doctor, whom he said was “seriously injured” and is still at Kelowna General Hospital, where he was taken for treatment.

“I visited him in hospital yesterday and he’s doing as well as can be expected,” said Halpenny.

“He was bright, alert and appreciated my visit.”

Gayle Duteil, president of the B.C. Nurses’ Union, painted a darker picture.

“We won’t go into specific details, but the doctor is lucky to be alive,” she told a separate news conference Monday.

“Nurses on the scene said the patient calmly walked out of a closed-door session and announced the doctor might be dead.”

Duteil said the incident “highlights the dangerous lack of security in B.C.’s psychiatric and forensic facilities.”

She called on Interior Health to provide personal alarms to medical staff at PRH and post dedicated security guards in the psychiatric unit.

Halpenny said staff and patient safety is a priority, and a full investigation is already underway in conjunction with the RCMP and WorkSafeBC.

Meanwhile, the patient is still in the custody of the RCMP, who were called to the hospital following the attack, said Halpenny.

He declined to reveal the patient’s age or gender, but said the person did not appear to present an exceptional threat.

“Any patient admitted in any location in the hospital, there’s always certain risks, and certainly in the psychiatric unit there is enhanced risks, (but) I wouldn’t say that this individual was obviously any different than any other patient in that environment,” said Halpenny.

“The physician himself felt comfortable to meet with the patient, so I wouldn’t say there was anything too unusual.”

Penticton RCMP could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.