Home health was a calling
January 19, 2023
Douglas Brant, a long-time dedicated home-health nurse at Providence Visiting Nurses Association in Spokane and a member of WSNA, was killed while caring for a patient Dec. 1. He was 56.
Brant arrived to care for his patient, Jean Chandler, at her mobile home park at 1:30 p.m. — his first visit with the patient, who had recently had a stroke. Jean Chandler and her husband, Willard Chandler, were in the living room, and their grandson Mitchell Chandler was in the kitchen cooking.
According to published accounts, an hour into the visit, Brant was shot and fell to the ground, and Mitchell Chandler walked into the living room and shot Brant again while standing over him. The elder Chandlers called police, and the suspect was apprehended 20 hours later. Brant died of multiple gunshot wounds, and Mitchell Chandler was charged with second-degree murder (which was changed to first-degree.).
Jean Chandler told police her grandson has mental health issues from traumatic brain injuries sustained in bull riding, and court documents indicate the suspect has a history of violence and threats against workers, according to The Spokesman Review.
The news has shocked the community.
While workplace violence is all too common, a killing of a nurse is rare.
Providence Visiting Nurses Association issued a note to staff the day after the shooting calling Brant’s death “an unspeakable tragedy.”
“Patients loved him, and he was especially favored by the ‘little old ladies.’ He was known for being incredibly kind, compassionate, and spiritual.
“Outside of work, he was a friend, a brother, son, uncle, musician, and as most of you know, he was very close with his sister, Trudy, who was part of our Providence family as well. Doug was always trying to better himself and inspired others to do the same. His stories, his sense of humor, his memory, and the essence of who he was has changed people’s lives for the better.”
Brant’s career with Providence started at Providence Home Services King County (2005-2013), then Providence Hospice of Seattle (2013–2018) and Providence Visiting Nurses Association (2018-2022).
Brant was a treasurer of WSNA at Providence VNA and was looking forward to advocating for nurses at WSNA’s annual Lobby Day in January.
WSNA President Lynnette Vehrs, MN, RN, was a home health nurse with Providence VNA for 17 years and never could have predicted a home health worker would be killed on the job.
“It is a calling and a joy to meet patients where they are and provide care in their homes. I never imagined that violence of this magnitude could affect me or my fellow home health nurses. While the killing of a nurse is a rare event, workplace violence in healthcare, sadly, is not. There is no reason why Doug Brant — or any other nurse — should, in a matter of seconds, go from caregiver to victim.”
In his bio on Wenatchee Valley College’s website, Brant wrote about how he wanted to help people by using his nursing degree.
“You can’t really separate any part of the human being. Nutrition, lifestyle, physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being — all of this is very closely connected,” Brant said. “In Isaiah 45:2, the Bible says, ‘I will make the crooked places straight,’ and I’d like to help others in that way. I would like to learn how to put these pieces together in a way that is accessible to people for their entire well-being.”
At a candlelight vigil Dec. 21 in Spokane, more than 250 came to celebrate Brant’s life. Guests heard from fellow Providence Visiting Nurses Association (PVNA) nurses Kathleen Thompson and Amanda Crawford; WSNA President Lynnette Vehrs, who worked at PVNA; David Keepnews, who introduced the many VIPs; AFT President Randi Weingarten, who reminded everyone of the magic of home health nurses and the need to celebrate light; and Trudy Dant, Doug’s sister, who shared a job with him at PVNA. View photo gallery.