A&E patient '˜claimed she would get people shot'

A diabetic woman lashed out at accident and emergency staff amid claims she was in the IRA and would get people shot, the High Court has heard.

Wednesday, 4th July 2018, 5:32 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:07 pm
The incident happened at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry on April 6

Edel McLaughlin tried to strike a doctor and paramedics as well as attempting to bite a male nurse at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry, prosecutors said.

The 38-year-old, of John Street in the city, faces charges of disorderly behaviour, common assault and assaulting an ambulance worker over the violent outburst on April 6.

She was granted bail but banned from entering the hospital’s grounds unless accompanied by police or medical staff.

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Mr Justice McAlinden was told McLaughlin has pleaded guilty to the alleged offences.

Police were called to Altnagelvin’s accident and emergency department amid reports McLaughlin was drunk and behaving violently.

Crown lawyer Conor Maguire said she was shouting and swearing in front of very ill patients and members of the public.

“It included her shouting that she was in the IRA and would get them shot,” counsel said.

“Two ambulance workers, a doctor and a nurse reported they had been put in fear of violence as a result of her lashing out against them, using both her hands and legs.

“They said she attempted to strike them and the nurse reported the applicant had attempted to bite him.”

It was revealed that McLaughlin is a diabetic who had to spend four days in hospital following the incident.

Defence barrister David Heraghty described it as a “sad case” involving a client with a long-term alcohol addiction.

She had been found lying on the ground in the city centre and taken by ambulance to Altnagelvin.

“There were no actual physical batteries,” Mr Heraghty stressed.

“She was lashing out at paramedics who had to stand back, fearing she was going to assault them.”

Under the terms of McLaughlin’s release on bail, Mr Justice McAlinden also imposed an alcohol prohibition and ordered her to seek an appointment with her GP within 48 hours.