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

Shellfish farm development a threat to Thetis Island

Project seems to have been quietly put forward with limited notice

Paper Excellence, owner of Crofton mill, hit by malware

Paper production in Crofton, and other mills, impacted by incident

UPDATE – Chemainus Secondary School fire Thursday morning being investigated as suspicious

Classes cancelled Friday due to ongoing investigation and damage

Skaters put to a tough test in regional competition

Fuller Lake coach concedes several factors contribute to the final results

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

PHOTOS: 2020 BC Winter Games kick off in Fort St. John

More than 1,000 of B.C.’s best athletes will be competing over the next three days

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

Kurtis Ryan Burdeniuk, 22, was retrieving carts when a driver backed into him in the parking lot

‘Usain Bolt he was not’: B.C. gang police seize drugs, cash after foot chase

‘The man took off running when he saw our officers approaching,’ CFSEU BC says

Most Read