Civil lawsuit filed by doctor attacked by patient at Penticton Regional Hospital dismissed by judge

Doc attack lawsuit denied

An Okanagan psychiatrist who was violently attacked by a patient at Penticton Regional Hospital in 2014 has lost his civil lawsuit against Interior Health Authority.

Dr. Rajeev Sheoran filed the suit seeking damages after the incident, alleging IHA had failed to meet its requisite standard of care.

The assault occurred on the afternoon of Dec. 5, 2014, while Sheoran was performing a private psychiatric assessment on Summerland resident Gregory Nield — a world-ranked jiu-jitsu competitor, as noted in the lawsuit decision.

Nield had been admitted to the hospital's psych ward six days earlier. He said he had been taking psilocybin mushrooms for a full month to treat migraines prior to being admitted to hospital, and he was eventually held involuntarily under the Mental Health Act.

Sheoran was performing a closed-door interview when Nield attacked without provocation. Sheoran was knocked unconscious, suffered a broken jaw, nose, teeth and damage to his eye, and a traumatic brain injury, and was left bleeding profusely.

Nield left the office and told the nursing staff that Sheoran "might be dead." He was convicted for the assault, then a new trial was ordered which never proceeded, and a subsequent personal civil suit against him from Sheoran was dropped.

Since the attack, Sheoran says he has had significant physical and mental issues that have prevented him from working.

A lengthy civil trial in Kelowna court commenced in late 2021, with Interior Health denying they were negligent in providing a safe work environment which led to the attack.

Justice Steven Wilson's judgement was published March 4, 2022. Wilson outlined the possible damages Sheoran could be entitled to for loss of past and future work opportunities and cost of future care, totalling in the multiple millions.

But ultimately Justice Wilson found Sheoran had not proved IHA had failed to meet its duty of care. He wrote that Nield was well known to be a potentially dangerous client among all of the staff on the unit, and that Sheoran failed to prove that he had asked for and been denied a nurse in the room with Nield.

"I find that the plaintiff has not proven that the defendant’s conduct fell below the requisite standard of care, and the claim is therefore dismissed," Wilson wrote.

More Penticton News