Man shoots himself in Grand Forks hospital emergency room

The head of the BC Nurses' Union says he had walked through the ambulance bay and pulled out the gun

  • Jan. 13, 2017 12:00 p.m.

Boundary Hospital Community Health Centre

A man walked in through ambulance bay in at a hospital in Grand Forks on Thursday, pulled a gun and shot himself in the head, said the president of the B.C. Nurses Union.

Speaking at a news conference Friday in Burnaby, Gayle Duteil said the man was airlifted from Boundary District Hospital to a hospital in Vancouver.

B.C. RCMP have issued a press release confirming the incident. According to police, no one else at the hospital was injured and the man is in “stable” condition.

“Our police officers responded very quickly,” says Corporal Janelle Shoihet, Media Relations officer for the BC RCMP said in a press release. “We recognize this was quite a traumatic event for those who witnessed it. However, I can confirm there was no additional risk to public.”

A spokesperson for Interior Health confirmed the incident took place at the hospital at 5:50 p.m. on Thursday evening.

“The incident took place inside the ambulance entrance to our emergency department,” said Karen Bloemink, IH Executive Director for Hospitals and Community Integrated Services for Interior Health East. “The incident involved  one individual, a non-staff member that shot themselves. This individual was  treated inititally in Grand Forks at the Boundary Hospital and then was transported to a  higher level of care.”

Bloemink said support efforts have begun for the effected staff and physicians and will continue throughout the weekend and for “as long as they need.”

“Our thoughts are with the individual and his family, and at no time were staff, physicians or patients directly threatened by the individual,” Bloemink said. “This was a traumatic and tragic incident and we are incredibly concerned for the affected staff and physicians who were on duty at the time.”

Duteil applauded nurses and staff for their actions, but said it highlights the growing concern of violence and weapons in emergency rooms around the province.

“Who would have thought Grand Forks would have a shooting in their emergency department?” she said. “Every nurse in this province deserves a safe workplace, and we’re going to do more to provide that.”

Duteil said the hospital staff who were involved are “extremely distraught.”

“Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is nothing protecting our members and other front-line staff from this sort of violence. I fear that the problem is only going to get worse.”

She called on the province to “step up” in providing resources to make this happen.

Police have said no further information will be released at this time and RCMP Victim Services will be providing support to members of the family as well as hospital staff and witnesses. Any witnesses who have information are asked to call the Grand Forks RCMP at 250-442-8288.

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