The PSNI has issued a stern warning on violence at Accident and Emergency after a suspected drugs overdose patient was reported to be attacking staff in Craigavon.
Police said they were forced to drive at speed from Lurgan to Craigavon Area Hospital on Sunday night to help A&E staff.
When they arrived the PSNI said the patient was ‘proving nearly impossible to treat and had lashed out at several staff’.
“Make no mistake, his choice put lives at risk,” said the PSNI in Craigavon.
On a post on their Facebook page, PSNI Craigavon said: “There’s some calls on the radio that make us drop whatever we’re doing. House fires, a burglary in progress, a serious injury RTC, or colleagues needing urgent assistance. Last night we got the latter call. Only it wasn’t police colleagues, it was our friends in Craigavon hospital A&E.
“Several crews stuck the blues on and rushed to the report of a violent male attacking staff.
“This turned out to be a suspected drug overdose patient, whatever he’d taken having major effects on his mood and temper. He was proving nearly impossible to treat and had lashed out at several staff.
“Not only had his choice to take drugs mean an ambulance had to be called for him, but it meant an A&E bed was used. Dr’s, nurses, porters, health care assistants and other staff were all diverted from other patients. On top of that the police drivers, myself being one coming from the far side of Lurgan, had to take extra risks in order to get there quickly. Make no mistake, his choice put lives at risk.
“Some people insist drugs are a personal choice and only impact the individual. Utter garbage. They impact on EVERYONE. As we arrived in A&E last night the look of shock and upset at what the going on was evident, and that was from other patients- genuinely sick people who needed the first class care that Craigavon A&E give yet were forced to watch those who were helping them be attacked.
“The staff carried on regardless though, and throughout, their priority was his wellbeing.
“All too often we have to attend hospitals to baby sit people who can’t handle their drink or choose to take drugs. Where we have complaints of offences it will be investigated thoroughly, and the judge made fully aware of the fact it occurred in hospital. We will not tolerate abuse of our NHS colleagues.
“Craigavon hospital, particularly A&E and NIAS staff, thank you for what you so ably and willingly do with such care, day in day out, even in the face of danger and abuse.”