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Paramedic sustains head injury during emergency medical call

Thursday, 12 October 2017

A female paramedic was assaulted during a medical emergency call near Omagh in the early hours of Tuesday.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said they were responding to the call when, on arrival at the scene, a female paramedic was assaulted by a patient who punched and bit her.

Said an NIAS spokesperson: "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."

On the arrival of the PSNI the woman then proceeded to further assault two police officers, they said.

Added the NIAS spokesperson: "Calls to NIAS in 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.

"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."

Police have confirmed a 20-year-old woman was arrested at the scene of the latest incident.

Omagh town councillor, Chris Smyth, said: "The emergency services have an extremely tough job at the best of times They attend traumatic events and situations that some of us can only imagine, but they experience these things in everyday life.

"What they don't need is their job being made harder due to assaults and other obstructive behaviour from those they are supposed to protect. When somebody attacks the emergency services they are effectively attacking the vulnerable in our community that these people are supposed to protect."

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