Health authority bosses will this week be reviewing security at Richmond Hospital, after a patient fled without permission on Monday, stole a police cruiser and caused mayhem on a busy street.
A spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) said Wednesday that there will be a meeting "with hospital leadership and hospital security to review the incident, to see if any improvements need to be made to protocols."
The News asked VCH, which operates Richmond Hospital, what level of security the patient was subject to at the time he left the hospital.
A spokesperson for VCH declined to comment, citing privacy concerns, but added that, “Patient safety is our highest priority and we regret any anxiety this incident may have caused anyone.
“We commend our staff, security officers, and Richmond RCMP for working quickly to protect patients.”
Asked about general security protocols at the hospital, VCH said it contracts Paladin Security to provide on-site services.
“Security officers are stationed in the emergency department in Richmond Hospital. Each patient is looked at individually to determine possible safety and security risks.
“There are certain security protocols that can be used, such as using restraints if a patient is considered an elopement risk or a threat to their own or someone’s safety.”
Just after noon on Monday, Richmond RCMP were called to the hospital after a report that a patient, who was not permitted to leave the premises, had fled on foot.
A Mountie found the man in question, but was unable to take him into custody before the suspect got into the police cruiser and drove off.
The man driving the stolen police car then collided with a civilian vehicle and an unmarked police car near Gilbert and Donald roads, just north of Blundell Road. He then collided with a second civilian vehicle on Gilbert, just south of Blundell, where he was arrested.
A photo sent to the Richmond News by local resident Bob Wiliamson appears to show a marked police cruiser had ultimately halted the progress of the stolen cruiser. However, when the News asked BC RCMP for clarification, we were told that only the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO BC) could answer the question. The News has reached out to the IIO BC.
The driver of the second civilian vehicle, a woman, was taken to hospital with what are believed to be serious, but non-life threatening injuries.
One RCMP officer was injured and is being treated for what are understood to be minor injuries.
Police are continuing to investigate the theft of the cruiser and the collisions. The area of Gilbert Road and Donald Road is currently cordoned off and inaccessible and motorists are asked to avoid the area.
Because police vehicles were involved in the incident, the RCMP has called in the IIO BC to determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the woman’s injuries.
A spokesperson for the BC Ambulance Service said they received a call at 12:37 p.m. for paramedics to attend “code 3” lights and sirens to a motor vehicle incident in the 8200 block of Gilbert Road.
“Paramedics responded to the police scene and transported one patient in serious condition to hospital,” added the spokesperson.