Mark King, Island Health Protection Services Manager, and Charles Kraeling, award recipient. (Submitted)

Mark King, Island Health Protection Services Manager, and Charles Kraeling, award recipient. (Submitted)

Hero disarms knife-wielding man in hospital war

Cowichan hospital’s Charles Kraeling wins International Award of Valour for July 2017 incident

A protection service officer at Cowichan District Hospital has received another accolade for what his employer is calling “an incredible act of bravery on the job.”

In July of last year, Charles Kraeling successfully disarmed a distraught patient who was brandishing a knife in a hospital ward, threatening the safety of himself and others.

Kraeling has become the first Island Health employee to receive an International Award of Valour by the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety for his efforts.

It follows a November 2017 ceremony where Kraeling was honoured with a Provincial Award of Valour by the association’s B.C. chapter.

Kraeling responded to a Code White (a violent or volatile individual) all at the hospital and found a knife-wielding man who was threatening himself, patients and staff in a four-bedroom ward.

Kraeling said something distracted the man and he took his eyes off of him, which provided Kraeling the opportunity to grab the man’s knife arm.

“We had a brief struggle and I managed to get the man onto the ground, and he released the knife,” he said.

“My partner, who was staying back until then, managed to kick the knife further away, and I handcuffed him. The nurses gave him some medication and he started to come to some realization of what was going on. He just wasn’t thinking in a right state of mind until then.”

Kraeling said no one was injured in the incident and the man was very apologetic for his actions.

“He really didn’t mean to be violent,” he said.

Kraeling was honoured this week in Chicago at the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety’s annual conference.

“Our Protection Services Officers must confront many challenges in their work lives and often go above and beyond in the call of duty to protect patients and staff as Charles bravely demonstrated,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health Board of Directors Chair. “It is gratifying for us all to see him recognized and celebrated by his peers and on an international stage.”

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