Patient's thumb allegedly bitten off, swallowed at Vancouver hospital

Mar 14 2022, 11:07 pm

A patient is suing the health authority that operates Vancouver General Hospital after another patient allegedly bit her thumb off and swallowed it.

According to a lawsuit filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Anupama Govardhan Bhakthan was attacked by fellow patient Kyle Healy Schreiner in April 2020 while she was in hospital for a hip fracture.

Schreiner was apprehended under the Mental Health Act and was initially physically restrained because he was a danger to others, the court documents say. But on April 8, an unidentified employee removed his restraints which allowed him to roam about the hospital.

Schreiner entered Bhakthan’s room and allegedly attacked her, biting off her right thumb, hitting her, as well as grabbing her face and eye. Bhakthan sustained serious eye and face damage, emotional trauma, and had to have her right thumb amputated.

Schriener allegedly also attacked security guards three days earlier, apparently biting and grabbing a guard’s head.

Bhakthan is suing the hospital and Paladin security for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty for not preventing Schreiner, who ought to have been restrained, from entering her room and attacking her.

She’s asking for damages for injuries, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability, and loss of earning capacity. She’s also asking for an in-trust award for additional housework done by friends and family because she wasn’t able to perform the tasks or take care of herself.

Vancouver Coastal Health wouldn’t comment on the ongoing legal proceedings, but the health authority apologized to Bhakthan and her family in a statement to Daily Hive.

“The health and safety of patients at all of our sites is our utmost priority and we deeply apologize to the patient and their family for this unfortunate incident.”

Schreiner currently resides at the Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, a facility that treats people who’ve been found not criminally responsible for crimes or unfit to stand trial due to a mental disorder.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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