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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Neighbours help Sidney woman mark 103rd birthday with surprise parade

Barbara Chorlton celebrates her ‘best birthday so far’

Racism is here too, say Victoria’s black community leaders

White Victorians have role to play in combatting systems of oppression, prejudice

Shortage of foreign workers costs Saanich Peninsula berry farmer thousands

Gobind Farms says hiring local has been difficult during pandemic

Pedestrian, cycling overpass now open at McKenzie Interchange

Bridge connects Portage Road, Galloping Goose Regional Trail

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Most Read