Nova Scotia

Assaulted cab driver questions patient transportation

An injured Nova Scotia cab driver says she wants the Capital District Health Authority to change its transportation policies after a forensic patient assaulted her in her vehicle last year.

Jane Lukin was assaulted in her cab last October.

Jane Lukin says it's hard for her to walk and go out since she was hit in the head. (CBC)

An injured Nova Scotia cab driver says she wants the Capital District Health Authority to change its transportation policies after a forensic patient assaulted her in her vehicle last year.

These days Jane Lukin is mostly stuck at home in Eastern Passage, but she used to enjoy her job as a cab driver.

"It was a good job, you know. It was, if you like driving, right? That's it," she said.

Lukin's last fare started at the Dartmouth General Hospital.

According to court documents, the incident took place in late October of last year when a long-term patient and two nurses wanted a ride to the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Burnside.

At first the drive along the highway was uneventful, but things suddenly changed.

"That man suddenly hit me on the back of my head, and I actually didn't understand," she said.

A glance in her rear-view mirror confirmed the worst.

"I was shocked. I was in shock. When I saw his eyes and his hands trying to get me again. I thought 'I'm going to die,'" she said.

Lukin was attacked in this cab (CBC)

 

Lukin said the nurses were struggling to restrain the forensic patient and screaming, "call 911." Lukin pulled over, activated her emergency beacon, and got out of the cab.

Trouble walking

She said she now suffers numbness in her face and nerve pain as a result of the blow to her head.

Lukin said she also suffers post-traumatic stress.

"If I can walk it's like five minutes with a cane. I cannot get up stairs without a cane, but I was a normal person before," she said.

Her lawyer Wayne Bacchus said he thinks the forensic hospital should  put public safety ahead of saving money with taxi transportation.

Lukin said she doesn't think dangerous psychiatric patients belong anywhere near a cab.

"You never know what they're going to do. Like in my case, nobody knew what will happen, and it happened," she said.

In court documents filed in its defence, the Capital District Health Authority denies any responsibility, saying the attack was an unavoidable accident.

A spokesperson said forensic patients can be transported in taxis, hospital vehicles, or by ambulance.

There's now a checklist to help decide which of these is the safest option.

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