A 67-YEAR-OLD nurse has two broken arms, a broken shoulder and other serious injuries after a man with mental health issues allegedly bashed her “within an inch of her life” at Nambour Hospital.
A man, believed to be a former mental health patient, reportedly entered the hospital on Friday night by following kitchen staff through a restricted door.
When the female nurse in the mental health ward confronted him and asked if she could help him, he said he was looking for his parents.
The man then allegedly hit her in the head with a roundhouse punch which sent her flying into a bench and then on to the floor.
It is believed he also kicked her while she lay on the floor.
The man has since been admitted to the mental health ward at the hospital but a hospital staff member told the Daily some nurses had refused to care for him.
She said other nurses were having trouble remaining professional after what happened and slender nurses could not be rostered on to care for the man because of his size.
The staff member said the incident was the talk of the hospital and people were in shock.
She said the victim, their colleague, was released on Saturday with plaster casts on both arms but was re-admitted again yesterday because she had trouble walking.
“It was an unfortunate series of events that this person got in,” she said.
“It all unfolded in milliseconds.
“There were four female nurses, well trained but probably weighing about 50kg, and one strong male nurse.”
She said the male nurse who had responded to the situation received head and rib injuries.
“There is a duress system, including a man down alert, but the delay is so long, about a minute,” the staff member said.
“The alarm goes to security, nurse managers and the significant people in hospitals who respond to that.
“It took a lot to take him down. We had him in restraint for more than half an hour before police arrived. Police couldn’t manage him so they brought him back.”
The staff member said every body involved was “traumatised” by the “vicious assault”.
“This is out of the ordinary and unfortunately these critical things do happen,” she said.
“Nurses now have to try and nurse him on their ward which is unsafe.
“They can’t possibly afford this man unbiased care. Despite their professionalism, it’s hard to treat him after what happened.
“Everybody that was there is very traumatised. A shock wave has gone through the ward. It was a very vicious assault.
“Queensland Health don’t tolerate any violence and they say they provide us with a safe working environment.
“Until nurses said ‘we’re not working with him’, he was going to be maintained at Nambour.
“Now they are looking at transferring him tonight (Sunday). It’s very scary. It could have been any one of us.”
A Queensland Health spokesman confirmed a nurse had been injured at Nambour hospital on Friday and the circumstances were being investigated.
“We cannot comment any further,” he said.
“The safety of our staff is paramount and the investigation will include whether there are any additional security measures which should be implemented to better ensure the safety of our staff and patients.”
Police have not yet charged the man over the attack. Mental Health Act provisions might mean the man is not charged.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.