Ambo bitten and spat at by patient

AN INCIDENT involving a patient biting and spitting on a paramedic in the back of an ambulance on Saturday night has sparked outrage in the Queensland Ambulance Service.

Ambulance Employees Association counsellor Peter Griffey said the latest incident shows the community is not responding to the state government's zero tolerance policy towards assaulting emergency service officers.

“It's really quite sad,” he said.

“There are doctors, nurses ... there are paramedics just there trying to help people out and they are getting abused and assaulted.”

Mr Griffey said the number of assaults on ambulance officers in Queensland shot up from 30 in 2007, to 56 in 2008 and is already 30 in 2009.

“That doesn't take into account the amount of times officers are verbally abused by people,” he said.

Last year, the state government changed legislation to classify assaults on public officers as serious.

“It's a small group of the community, usually intoxicated youths, but the message has not sunk in,” Mr Griffey said.

Hospitality worker Emily Louise Greenwood appeared in Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday morning, charged with serious assault of an ambulance officer.

Sgt Stevens said the paramedics were transferring the patient from a Bundaberg house, where she was unconscious after consuming a bottle of bourbon, when the incident occurred.

“When she came to (in the back of the ambulance) she thrashed around, lashed out and bit then index finger then started to spit at the officer,” Sgt Stevens said.

Defence lawyer Mary Buchanan said her client did not remember the incident, but Sgt Stevens said reports said that Greenwood was respondent at the time.

Greenwood did not enter a plea on the charge and was released on bail under strict conditions.

She will appear in court again on August 7.



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