Beaten B.C. nurse couldn’t call for help: union

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver



"This patient was a high-risk patient placed on a unit that was inadequately staffed. The nurses did not have the appropriate training to provide this level of care." — Christine Sorensen, BCNU

The BC Nurses’ Union blames the Fraser Health Authority for delaying repairing a pager system for months — until a nurse was seriously injured when a patient hit her on the head with a rock.

Union vice-president Christine Sorensen said on Monday that the Eagle Ridge Hospital nurse was trying to pull a man down from a second-floor balcony wall and called for help — signaling a clerk to page for assistance to her medical unit.

But the message was garbled and instructions weren’t passed through.

The nurse ended up having to struggle with the patient on her own — the man head-butted her, elbowed her and hit her head with a rock during the altercation — until the clerk later picked up a phone and dialed directly for assistance, Sorensen said.

Eagle Ridge executive director Val Spurrell said by email the paging system is experiencing “intermittent issues with the clarity of the calls,” and a permanent solution is being sought.

Sorensen said it’s an issue nurses had been trying to raise for the past two months since the public announcement system began having problems.

“Unfortunately, what we see is employers often don’t respond to those (concerns) in a timely fashion,” Sorensen said.

She said the patient — who has dementia — should never have been treated in that particular unit.

Eagle Ridge director of medicine Shannon deBruyckere said the hospital is trying to increase the number of staff it has to respond to “code white” calls such as the one last week.

She said the hospital also keeps files of patients who have a history of violence.

“In some instances, such as this one, there is no prior indication of a violent nature.”





Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions