The actions of a man who “king hit” a Gore Hospital accident and emergency doctor from behind puts the hospital’s 24-hour service at risk, chief executive Karl Metzler says.
About 10.30pm on November 4, Dr Fazal Mann was examining East Gore man Bailee Brown.
As Dr Mann asked three of Brown’s associates who were behaving in an unruly manner to leave the building, Brown assaulted the doctor.
At that point Brown left without receiving treatment for his injury.
The 19-year-old appeared in the Gore District Court last week and was convicted of assault.
Mr Metzler said the Gore and Oamaru hospitals were the only two rural hospitals in the South Island where patients had free access to 24-hour care.
“This individual’s choice to abuse substances and then assault my doctor puts the entire ability to provide healthcare services for this community at risk,” Mr Metzler said.
The hospital is owned by the community and managed by the Gore Health Ltd trust.
It was a privilege to provide healthcare for the community, he said.
“We love this community, that’s why we do it, but when that privilege is abused then you start to relook at it.”
It was a concerning situation because a member of the community had “abused our trust”.
“They have violated the very essence and philosophy of who we are and they have absolutely violated our trust.
“It makes us nervous makes us think twice about opening our door at one o’clock in the morning to patients who need life-preserving care.”
In assaulting a doctor there was a sense Brown had also ####0attacked the community, he said.
It was becoming more common that patients were “abusive but this is one step up”, Dr Mann said.
He was “angry” and “disappointed” about the attack.
When they left they were giving each other high fives.”These people come to us for help and instead of being appreciated they turn around and abuse and assault us which is not on.”
“He potentially could have given me a life-threatening injury,” Dr Mann said.
Two of Brown’s associates were waiting to assault him further but a nurse intervened and said she was calling the police, he said.
“When they left they were giving each other high fives.”
There could have also have been serious consequences for the four acutely unwell people who turned up after the assault.
“If I was more seriously injured that means no doctor ED would be shut down.”
Those patients would have been sent to Invercargill, delaying their treatment.
The morning after the assault the hospital was a doctor down because Dr Mann was concussed which put more pressure on staff, Mr Metzler said.
Ironically Brown also returned to the hospital to have his injury treated.
“Now he comes back shamelessly to get surgery,” Dr Mann said.
“To add insult to injury we have a duty of care by law to treat him,” Mr Metzler said.
“Where is the law to protect us?” Dr Mann said.
Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley, of Gore, said the police were disappointed and appalled by the behaviour of the young person.
“The hospital and its environment should be a safe place for professionals to render medical assistance to others,” Snr Sgt Fairley said.
Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said he found the incident “absolutely appalling”.
“To have yobs like that come in and disrupt the whole night and put people at risk just simply can’t be tolerated,” Mr Hicks said.
“I hope that the culprits involved in this particular situation are reflecting on their actions and will make amends.”
The incident reflected badly on the community.