Abbotsford Regional Hospital File photo

Daughter of man charged in Abbotsford nurse attack says she warned hospital of danger

Jen Goodkey pleads for help and warns that her father is ‘very dangerous’ while in state of psychosis

The daughter of the man charged with assaulting a nurse with a dumbbell at Abbotsford Regional Hospital said she repeatedly warned health workers about the danger posed by her mentally ill father before Tuesday’s attack.

That assault left an Abbotsford nurse with a broken jaw, fracture cheek bone and other serious injuries. It also spurred a call for more protection for health care workers from potentially violent patients.

Jen Goodkey said her father, Neale Heath, had tried to kill his wife – Goodkey’s step-mother – last week and was in a state of psychosis and under the spell of delusions. She said she warned health officials last week, and worries that he might still be a danger if officials don’t take his mental illness seriously.

Police were called after the original attack, as were paramedics, after Heath suffered a seizure. He was taken to hospital, but his wife didn’t pursue charges because of Heath’s mental state. Goodkey says she believes her father also intended to harm her.

RELATED: ‘This should never have happened:’ BCNU president says attack on nurse was preventable

RELATED: Nurse suffers broken jaw in patient ‘ambush’ at Abbotsford hospital

While in hospital, Heath became violent again and was restrained, Goodkey said. She said she told several different health workers that they needed to be very careful around her father.

“I told them the he is very, very dangerous, that they needed to take him seriously.”

Goodkey said Heath grabbed his wife violently on a subsequent visit, but shortly after that incident, he was transferred to a medical unit on a different floor and restraints were removed. Goodkey said health workers were told that a dumbbell in his new room should be removed.

“They weren’t taking anybody seriously when we said how sick he is and how dangerous he is,” Goodkey said. “They had the restraints off and then early in the morning he attacked the nurse.”

A Fraser Health spokesperson has said that there is “security support available for one-on-one supervision of potentially violent patients,” and that a security officer was “nearby” at the time of Tuesday’s attack. The BC Nurses’ Union has called for more safety officers in hospitals and better training for those workers.

Goodkey, though, says that Tuesday’s attack came from an easing of restrictions on her father.

“If they would have listened and left those restraints on, that would never have happened,” she said.

Goodkey said a psychiatrist at the hospital expressed doubt to her over whether Heath was in fact schizophrenic. And after the attack she said she was told her father cleared his psychiatric evaluation.

But Goodkey said it’s clear her father is not mentally healthy. She says her father initially attacked her mother because God had “appointed him a prophet.” She said her father has previously been committed because of his mental state and had attacked her mother several decades ago while in a state of psychosis.

If Heath is released from custody without having his psychosis properly treated, Goodkey worries that her or her step-mother’s lives could be in danger.

Goodkey said she both wants her father to get the medical help he needs and for authorities to recognize the danger he poses without that assistance.

“He’s not well. He needs to be institutionalized or he will kill someone.”

Heath has been charged with aggravated assault. He is currently still at ARH, where he is being held under guard.

The News has asked Fraser Health for comment.

In an emailed statement to The News, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province is working with unions and health authorities to make workplaces safer. He said Michael Marchbank, the former CEO of Fraser Health, wrote a report this summer that included recommendations on how to reduce workplace violence.

“That report acknowledges that all healthcare stakeholders are concerned about the prevention of violence and identifies that there is good work underway,” Dix said in a statement emailed to The News. “The report makes recommendations and we are moving quickly on an action plan. I plan to share those recommendations and act on them in the coming weeks.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Revelstoke child care centres receive $45,000 in CBT funding

The grants are for equipment purchases as well as outdoor space upgrades

Clouds and rain for election day in Revelstoke

Forecast from Environment Canada: Today: Cloudy. 30 per cent chance of showers… Continue reading

Revelstoke takes the plunge to support the Special Olympics

Fundraisers swam in Williamson Lake on Oct. 20

Rain in forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap region

Mixed bag of clouds, sun and showers forecast for the week ahead

Video: Revelstokians discuss issues for this election

Climate, economy, jobs were some of the deciding factors

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Sentencing date set for former West Kelowna teacher charged with child luring

Former Mount Boucherie teacher Bradley Furman will be sentenced on Dec. 16

New trial ordered for Salmon Arm optician convicted of sexually assaulting 14-year-old boy

Kenneth Pilkington was ininitally found guilty of the offense

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Hergott: Driving and talking to a passenger

Lawyer Paul Hergott writes about distracted driving with passengers

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Summerland man celebrates 100th birthday

Bill Kenzle credits positive attitude as secret to a long life

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

Most Read