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Suspected substance use incident sends Penticton hospital staff to emergency

Some staff memebers reported feeling unwell after a bad smell at the hospital
An incident of suspected drug use is being investigated at Penticton’s Regional Hospital. (File photo)

An ‘unknown odour’ from potential substance use led Penticton Regional Hospital staff to check into the emergency department on April 7.

Interior Health confirmed that an incident occurred and is being investigated.

“Our top priority is the safety of our staff and patients,” said IH.

The incident occurred shortly before the provincial government announced the creation of a task force to tackle reports of substance use in hospitals.

According to IH, staff took precautions by closing off the area after detecting the odour, relocating a patient and increasing ventilation.

“Any incident involving illicit substances in a hospital is concerning and our priority is the health of all impacted individuals and determining what took place,” said IH. “We appreciate the quick response from our hospital staff when the odour was detected.”

READ MORE: Health minister announces task force to deal with drug use in B.C. hospitals

An unspecified number of hospital staff reported feeling unwell following the incident and an unknown number later went to the emergency department.

Interior Health noted that smoking is not permitted on any of its properties and that it has protocols for dealing with incidents like what occurred on April 7.

The incident in Penticton is just one of the latest across B.C. in recent days that have been reported and shared with the public, prompting pressure on the government.

Asked if IH seizes prohibited items or substances, IH stated that staff have the ability to remove belongings from patients if they have concerns that their possession poses a safety risk.

Interior Health did not answer whether there had been any previous incidents like this at PRH.

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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