PARAMEDICS have recalled suffering physical and psychological injuries while going to the aid of people needing medical attention.
Ian Brown and William Bradley, both paramedics with North West Ambulance Service, recounted their experiences at a campaign launch at The Forest House pub in Chester aimed at preventing ambulance staff being abused.
Many attacks are alcohol-fuelled, leading Chester Pubwatch to give a firm commitment to ban individuals who subject ambulance crews to physical or verbal assaults from all their licensed premises.
Ian, who has been with the service 25 years, became emotional as he told how he was sent to the private address of a male who had recently been given some bad news.
“I went in and he punched me to the face and threw me against a book case and over a table. He attempted to gouge my eyes out. He attempted to throttle me.
“It was approximately ten minutes before police arrived and within ten minutes I had a black eye, thick lip, a sprained wrist and I also now have a disability in my shoulder because of the assault.”
Ian said the offender received a three month jail sentence – the same period he was off work during which time colleagues had to cover his absence but with the community left without a full service.
Ian said the mental scars healed slowly and back in work he found it especially difficult to go into pubs knowing people had been drinking and he would not approach any “ambiguous” situation.
Paramedic William Bradley was called to a patient who had apparently been bitten by a dog but when he found the man lying on a pavement it was obvious he had life-threatening knife wounds to his chest, with blood everywhere. The next thing, another man jumped on the patient’s head.
“The man’s body shuddered and I saw two feet on his head. There was a melee around me,” said William, who suffered a physical attack as he pushed his way through to the ambulance to radio for help.
He said the aggressors present did “not seem to be afraid of anything”. The patient was taken to hospital and William, who has been with the service for 29 years, had to take two months off work. The perpetrator received eight years in prison.
Frank Marnell, chairman of Chester Pubwatch and landlord of The Watergate Inn, whose members are committed to banning trouble-makers, said: “Ninety-nine percent are lovely people but you get 1% wherever you go.”
Cheshire police are supporting their colleagues in the ambulance service by providing back-up at incidents, asking paramedics to report attacks so action can be taken and supporting Pubwatch when it bars troublemakers.
Chief superintendent Tim Jackson, of Cheshire police, said: “The partnership we have formed with NWAS for this campaign is extremely important as we wish to assist the Trust in whatever way we can. It is true that violence and aggression towards ambulance staff will not stop overnight but what we can do is make sure measures are in place to deter such acts which in turn will lead to a reduction in crime of this nature.”