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

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

Vernon 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

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims two more lives of Sunnybank Retirement Centre residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Okanagan Clinical Trials is looking at gut bacteria as a way of slowing down the development of Alzheimer’s. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)
Okanagan study looking for volunteers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

The study is looking at how gut bacteria may help slow the disease

Penticton City Hall. (File photo)
City of Penticton seeking grants to fund public washroom improvements

The grant would fund washrooms at Gyro Park and Riverside Park

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to reports of a structure fire on Valleyview Place Jan. 26, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
Fire snuffed in Vernon home

No visible smoke, flames from area of reported structure fire

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Most Read