A NSW hospital worker had “flesh torn from his body” and four others were injured in an alleged incident involving a violent patient, a union says.
The “bloody violent attack” angered the Health Services Union and prompted state secretary Gerard Hayes to call for safer working conditions for hospital staff.
Mr Hayes said the incident occurred last Saturday at 4am after police officers dropped off a handcuffed man to the emergency department.
The man left the hospital and was brought back by police and placed in a mental health room under the supervision of a hospital security assistant.
The man allegedly became violent and attempted to leave, causing the assistant to call for backup. A violent struggle ensued in which five security staff were injured, Mr Hayes said.
According to the union’s account of the alleged incident, one staffer was bitten on the shoulder so badly some “flesh was torn”.
Another one was slammed to the ground and suffered a concussion, while a third person broke five ribs and tore cartilage.
Two other people were also treated, one for a suspected broken arm and the other for bruises and cuts.
“This was another violent medical situation in a concerning escalation that’s been occurring over a decade,” Mr Hayes said.
“Aggression against hospital staff has become par for the course.”
He called for additional security officers at NSW hospitals who he said should be empowered to restrain and detain violent people.
Mr Hayes also called for NSW Health to review the protocols around police transfers of patients from custody to hospital.
The NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, said via a spokesperson he was “appalled” by the incident and that he would request a “full investigation”.
“He shares the concerns of the HSU,” the spokesperson said.
“To have health and security staff attacked when they are doing their job of looking after patients and the community is nothing short of atrocious. If it is found the safety protocols need to be changed, they will be.”