Sat | Nov 18, 2017

Under attack - Knife-wielding intruder attacks intern

Published:Tuesday | July 18, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Entrance to Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine.
Doctor's living quarters at Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine.
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The management of Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine is giving the assurance that security measures have been stepped up there in the wake of two recent attacks on medical personnel that have left the victims traumatised.

On Saturday night, a medical intern had to make a hasty retreat to the doctors' living quarters at the hospital after she was attacked by a knife-wielding intruder.

The intern was reportedly on her way to a laboratory to collect blood tests for a patient when a man attacked her.

At the same time, a student midwife had to seek medical attention after she was hit on her hand by a man who threatened to harm medical personnel at the health facility.

The Gleaner has been reliably informed that the student nurse and her colleagues received counselling yesterday.

A source told The Gleaner that some medical personnel were upset and expressed concern for their safety. One member of the medical team at the hospital who spoke to The Gleaner on condition of anonymity said that doctors and nurses were committed to carrying out their duties. However, the concerned staff member said that while the health teams were working assiduously to save lives at the hospital, there were safety issues owing to inadequate security arrangements.

... Security personnel on high alert

In a Gleaner interview, Gregory Thomas, chief executive officer of the Spanish Town Hospital, said that he has placed security personnel at the facility on high alert to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

"On the weekend I had to request that they put in an extra mobile patrol unit with a canine, especially at nights," Thomas told The Gleaner.

He said that investigations are under way into the two incidents which are believed to be related.

Thomas noted that as a matter of policy, the hospital provides counselling for workers who have had traumatic experiences while on the job.

Regarding the attack on the medical intern, the CEO said that he has not yet received a report from her, and that the security personnel were preparing a written one on the incident.

He said that the staff at the hospital were "greatly concerned" about their security and safety "and we take those concerns very seriously".

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com