The partner and sister of a man with serious head and spinal injuries have appeared in court charged with attacking him as he lay semi-conscious in bed in intensive care.
District Judge Barney McElholm was told that during the attack at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry on Saturday night, medical staff lay across the patient's head in an attempt to protect him as his partner and sister punched and slapped him and tried to pull out medical drips attached to him.
Bridget Mongan (23), from Stanley's Walk in Derry, and Eileen Stokes (29), from Mourne Park in Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone, are jointly charged with attempted grievous bodily harm with intent on Patrick Mongan last Saturday night.
They are further charged with assaulting two nurses and a doctor and with disorderly behaviour in the unit.
A police officer told Derry Magistrates Court that Stokes, who has 27 previous convictions, is Mr Mongan's partner, and Mongan, who has 13 previous convictions, is his sister.
The officer said police responded to a 999 call from hospital staff who reported that the two women had attacked Mr Mongan as he lay seriously ill from injuries received during an earlier, apparently unconnected assault.
The two defendants had been in the unit earlier in the day visiting Mr Mongan but they returned in a drunken condition and punched and slapped him on the head and face as he lay semi-conscious.
Medical staff rushed to the room where they were verbally and physically abused by the defendants. The police witness said the defendants then "began to pull drips attached to the patient which medical staff say caused his condition to become unstable by increasing his blood pressure and his pulse rate".
One of the nurses lay across the patient's head to protect him.
The officer said the staff managed to remove the defendants, but they managed to regain entry to the unit by following a doctor after he used his swipe card.
They ran down the corridor chased by staff who prevented them from gaining access to Mr Mongan's room.
However, Stokes managed to break free and she went into the room where she was seen pulling Mr Mongan across the bed.
The officer said he feared both women would attempt to re-enter the hospital if granted bail and he said, but for the staff's intervention, the injuries sustained by Mr Mongan during the incident could have been much more serious.
Refusing bail, Mr McElholm said he could imagine in some circumstances people who pulled out medical drips being charged with attempted murder.
"Their behaviour was totally outrageous and but for the timely intervention of the medical staff could have been much more serious," he said.
Both defendants wept as they were remanded in custody to appear by video-link on January 23.