View Royal protection service officer recognized

Mattaius Brueckl honoured for heroic actions at VGH during incident in April

Scott MacMillan, manager of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (centre) presents Mattaius Brueckl from View Royal (left) and Charles Kraeling from Nanaimo with awards. Brueckl received an award of distriction for his compassionate and empathetic handling of a person in need at Victoria General Hospital in April. (Contributed photo)

When Mattaius Brueckl went into work at Victoria General Hospital one April morning, he thought it would be like any other day.

As a protection services officer with Island Health, Brueckl’s job is to provide a safe environment for patients, faculty, visitors and staff. He often responds to calls about aggressive or volatile individuals, patient standby requests, theft investigations, suspicious persons, damage to property and first-aid, among other things.

However, on this day, the View Royal resident received a call from a dispatcher about a suspicious person trying to climb over a fence. With just that information, Brueckl and his partner attended the call and noticed the door to the emergency stairwell leading up to the roof was ajar.

When he stepped inside, he ran into a teenager who was attempting to get onto the roof.

“He was being very evasive with me and I was trying to explain, I’m not the police, I’m not trying to get you in trouble, we’re just trying to help,” Brueckl said. “There was quite a significant risk in his thoughts and things that were going on in his life.”

However Brueckl is in what he calls a “grey” area and doesn’t have the same authority as police officers to demand someone to come with him. Instead, Brueckl must engage in conversation, build a rapport with an individual and establish a level of trust.

After roughly half-an-hour to 45 minutes, Brueckl convinced the teenager to go to the emergency department with him without incident.

RELATED: Protection service officer at Cowichan Hospital gets award for handling man with knife

Brueckl received an award of distinction for “his compassionate and empathetic handling” of the situation from the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety during a ceremony in Vancouver. It wasn’t until Brueckl found out he won the award that he also discovered the teenager was in medical distress at the time.

“Our protection services officers are required to respond to calls that require both courage and compassion, often in equal measure,” said James Hanson, Island Health vice president operations and support services. “Mattaius, we are proud of your professionalism and your commitment to the safety of everyone we serve at Island Health.”

Despite the accolades, Brueckl admits the situation was a pretty regular occurrence as one of 90 full-time protection services officers, who work in health-care facilities across the Island.

“It’s an honour to have been recognized, but at the same time, there’s so many things that my colleagues do that equally could have been award-worthy,” he said.

A protection services officer for the past five years, as well as a reserve constable with the Saanich Police Department and a member of Saanich Search and Rescue, Brueckl has responded to hundreds of calls ranging from a visitor needs help finding their car in the parking lot to being first on scene after someone has jumped off a parkade at Royal Jubilee Hospital.

Often Brueckl is put in situations where he must strike a balance between making sure nursing staff and patients are safe and building a relationship with someone in crisis.

“Our perception on the job of what it normal is quite skewed. I’ll go into a situation where a person has produced a knife or they’ve assaulted a staff member and it’s just something we deal with calmly,” Brueckl said. “‘I’ll go to work and I won’t know what’s going to happen. That’s what I love about it.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

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

Just Posted

COVID-19 case confirmed at downtown Victoria 7-Eleven

Employee tests positive, company warns of possible exposure risk between Aug. 10 and 14

Rare white orca spotted hunting off shores of Alaska for first time

Tl’uk seems healthy and strong, says researcher

Mental health challenges add to youth stress load

Part 2 in a Black Press series on Youth Homelessness

Langford bike park rolling along to completion

New park a tribute to Jordie Lunn’s legacy

Mount Newton Centre pivots to keep serving seniors

Peninsula non-profit in need of iPads to stay connected

VIDEO: Greater Victoria police officers try bhangra dancing with social media star

Gurdeep Pandher leads bhangra lesson on front lawn of the BC Legislature building

Unofficial holidays: here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Aug. 16 to 22

World Photography Day, Black Cat Appreciation Day and Rum Day all coming up this week

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read