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Knife-wielding patient arrested at B.C. hospital after staff hid on ward: police

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer's uniform at a call in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. A spokesman for Vancouver Police says a criminal investigation is underway after an allegedly knife-wielding patient chased a doctor at BC Women's Hospital and tried to access a locked nursery as staff hid to protect themselves. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver Police say an investigation is underway after a patient allegedly armed with a knife chased a doctor at BC Women's Hospital and tried to access a locked nursery as staff hid to protect themselves.

Sgt. Steve Addison says he has listened to chilling 911 calls from staff and social workers fearful of the volatile woman, whose child is also a patient at the hospital.

He says an officer subdued the woman, who is in her 30s, with a bean bag gun in an area of the hospital for children at risk and mothers who are dealing with "personal struggles."

Addison says getting hit with a bean bag gun is like being struck with a major league fastball and the woman was treated at the hospital for a minor injury to her lower body.

He says she was arrested, and charges may include possession of a knife, assault and breach of probation.

Addison says the incident unfolded after some conversations at the hospital about potentially restricting access to the woman's child and getting the Children's Ministry involved.

"There was an imminent threat to people on the floor, to babies, to hospital staff, to other patients and parents. Our officers acted quickly and decisively," he said.

"Obviously, it was extremely traumatic for everybody who was there, people who were sheltering in place, people who were running scared, people who were calling for help."

A statement from BC Women's Hospital says that although no one was seriously hurt, such incidents can be traumatizing, and its leadership team is offering support to those affected.

It says a health and safety review of the incident is underway.

"This process provides us with an opportunity to refresh our policies and practices to ensure our health-care teams continue to safely meet the emergent needs of those we serve."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2022.

The Canadian Press