Belfast Telegraph

Female paramedic suffers head injury after being attacked attending emergency call

By Claire Williamson

A female paramedic has suffered a head injury after being attacked while attending an emergency call in Omagh.

It happened as the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) responded to a medical emergency in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The PSNI said the patient in question "took issue with the arrival of the Ambulance Service and proceeded to assault a female paramedic".

Officers arrived a short time later and arrested the patient for assault.

A spokesman for the NIAS: "On arrival at the scene a female paramedic was assaulted by the patient who punched and bit her.

"The paramedic removed herself from the scene in an attempt to calm the situation only to be attacked a second time by the patient whom she had arrived to help. This second assault resulted in the paramedic sustaining a head injury.

The PSNI said the woman then proceeded to further assault two police officers.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said attacks on crews are at a rate of more than five a week and called the situation "totally unacceptable".

"Calls to NIAS in the early hours of the morning are normally serious in nature and NIAS staff are focused on providing life-saving care. They do not expect that while providing treatment that they will be assaulted by the actual patient", the NIAS spokesman said.

"Attacks on our crews continue at a rate of more than five a week. This situation is totally unacceptable. We have previously talked about the impact that these attacks have on the communities we serve in terms of crews being stood down mid-shift. We have talked about the potential for the loss of life as a result of reduced cover following these assaults. While this potential still exists we are even more concerned about the impact of such assaults on the health and well-being of our staff.

"These assaults are not something which our crews are able to forget about within minutes. We have evidence to show how the impact can be felt years later and the event relived at any moment in time.

"NIAS will continue to call for the full rigour of the law to be applied in instances where evidence against an assailant is clear and indisputable. We are heartened at some of the recent sentences that have been passed and hope that those who find themselves before the court on such charges will face the real prospect of custodial sentences."

The PSNI added: "There is never an excuse for assaulting emergency service personnel. The arrested female will wake up in a cell later this morning to face the consequences of her actions.

"We stand firmly beside our colleagues in the Fire and Ambulance service – attacks on them will not be tolerated."

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