By TODD LEWIS
THE region’s highest ranking police officer has condemned the actions of a woman who spat on a nurse at the hospital on Sunday, labelling it disgusting and dangerous.
At around 9.30am, police were called to the Mount Gambier Hospital after reports a woman in the emergency department verbally abused the uniformed nurse and then spat in her face.
The woman was arrested and charged and Limestone Coast Police officer in charge Superintendent Phil Hoff said police were continuing to investigate the incident.
“The current environment makes this even more topical, but in any event, spitting on someone is a disgusting and incredibly dangerous attack,” Supt Hoff said.
“People have very contagious diseases such as various forms of hepatitis and other illnesses that can be easily transmitted.”
The Limestone Coast Health Network (LCHN) said the nurse was immediately assessed and had been offered counselling and additional support following the incident.
However, Supt Hoff expressed his own concerns for staff and patients at the hospital.
“We responded to this incident, but our concerns are for patients and staff at the hospital who do not seem to have protection from these types of things,” Supt Hoff said.
A LCHN spokesperson said private security officers provided services in the emergency department on occasion, but staff were trained to call the police when they were needed to intervene in situations.
“The safety of our staff and patients is always our top priority and any acts of intentional violence and aggression within our hospital are not tolerated,” a spokesperson said.
“Managing actual and potential aggression training has been rolled out to all frontline staff in the region, with targeted training in the emergency department to help staff de-escalate any threats to themselves, their patients or colleagues.”
Pregnant health worker assaulted
By MOLLY TAYLOR
A WOMAN who spat on a pregnant nurse at Mount Gambier Hospital has been remanded in custody.
Veronica Jane Hay, 52, appeared in the Mount Gambier Magistrates Court via video-link yesterday charged with assaulting a prescribed emergency worker.
Police were called to Mount Gambier Hospital at around 9.30am Sunday after reports a woman in the emergency department verbally abused a uniformed nurse and then spat in her face.
The prosecutor said staff had been dealing with Hay for quite some time before she became aggressive and started using foul language.
While attempting to help and care for the defendant, Hay spat a large amount of saliva, which contained food, towards the nurse, who is 26 weeks pregnant.
The prosecutor said Hay was a prescribed applicant, convicted for murder in September 1992, which the defendant conceded she was never going to live down.
was to be considered.
Magistrate Maria Panagiotidis said her biggest concern was the likelihood the defendant would be on parole at the time of the offending, as Hay had been released from jail after serving time for murder.
“My biggest concern is that she is on parole.”
Inquiry reports were ordered and Hay was remanded in custody to appear in court again on July 27.