Manitoba

Jackie Healey 99% blind in left eye after behavioural centre attack

Jackie Healey cried when doctors told her she had lost most of the sight in her left eye as a result of the brutal attack on her last day of work placement as an addictions worker.

WARNING: Graphic images included in article

Jackie Healey 99% blind in left eye after behavioural centre attack

6 years ago
Duration 2:11
Jackie Healey cried when doctors told her she had lost most of the sight in her left eye as a result of the brutal attack on her last day of work placement.

Jackie Healey cried when doctors told her she had lost most of the sight in her left eye as a result of the brutal attack on her last day of work placement.

Healey will be 99 per cent blind in her eye for the rest of her life, the Red River College student posted on Facebook. 

"I just cried once I heard that. I never expected my life to change so drastically over the last 3 Days," she posted. 

Healey was working at the Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation on Sunday when she was attacked with a baseball bat and socks filled with pool balls. Another employee was also injured.

Healey was rushed to hospital where she has been recuperating since. 

On Thursday, she posted that an eye doctor has told her that there was very serious damage from the blow to her eye by the pool ball.

"It cracked my eye bone and caused it to shatter and irritate the nerves," she posted.

Jackie Healey says her doctor has told her that there was very serious damage from the blow to her eye by the pool ball. (Jackie Healey/Submitted to CBC )

Healey said she is trying to stay positive and has appreciated the support that she has received, but she is afraid of what this means for her life. 

"I didn't ask to be attacked and I have no choice now but to keep movin along. It sucks but I'll get used to it," she posted. 

On Wednesday, a 17-year-old male and a 16-year-old male were charged with 17 offences including assault, possession of a weapon, and unlawful confinement.

The names of the accused can't be released due to provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

'Heart went out' to Healey and family, health minister says

Manitoba's Minister of Health Kelvin Goertzen said they are waiting for Workplace Health and Safety to finish their investigation into the assault before making any decisions. 

"Hopefully the investigation provides us with some direction in how these things can be mitigated in the future," he said.

Goertzen said he saw photos of Healey and his "heart went out to obviously the victim but also the family."

Since Healey was attacked, there have been a lot of conversations around the safety of staff working with high-needs youth. 

Jessica Hadley, president of Child and Youth Care Workers' Association of Manitoba, told CBC assaults and verbal abuse are a daily occurrence. The agencies that employ the workers are understaffed and underfunded yet face an increased demand on their services from "an ever-growing population of youth with complex needs," she said. 

Goertzen said the funding from his department, when it relates to the behavioural health centre, hasn't changed. He said the problem is more complex than an increase in funding. 

"I also understand, in terms of addictions and mental health because those are sort of tied together, that there isn't enough, not just funding, but not enough partnerships to try to ensure these things are done better," he said. 

He added that it's not always about increasing spending but about working better and finding the right partners. 

now