A female paramedic responding to a patient ended up being the one requiring medical attention after she was allegedly kicked and punched to the head in the back of an ambulance by an alleged teenage drug addict in Palmerston, St John Ambulance said.
The ambos were called to an address in Palmerston on Tuesday night for a 17-year-old male who was reportedly drug-affected, St John Ambulance regional manager Andrew Everingham told ABC Radio Darwin Wednesday morning.
“During transport, the patient became highly agitated in the back of the ambulance and actually allegedly kicked and punched and attacked the female paramedic in the back of the vehicle,” Mr Everingham said.
“Thankfully, they were able to exit that vehicle, get away from that male and police came and apprehended the male involved.”
He said the female paramedic was taken by ambulance to the Palmerston Regional Hospital and treated for soft tissue injuries to the face.
“She obviously wasn’t able to attend the rest of her shift,” he said.
The assault follows another serious attack of paramedic staff in Alice Springs on February 14, where a male paramedic was struck to the head by an object wielded by a patient and had to attend the Alice Springs Hospital for treatment of a soft tissue injury to the head.
“Obviously, this is devastating for us,” Mr Everingham said.
The recent Productivity Commission’s report from the federal government released on January 28 shows paramedics are leaving the Northern Territory at a higher rate than anywhere else in Australia.
The NT led the nation with a 20.2 per cent attrition rate for the 2019-20 financial year which is five times higher than WA.
The report stressed that COVID-19 has influenced the rates.
St John NT has reported 10 assaults, both verbal and physical against staff, in the first seven weeks of the year.
There 71 reported assaults against paramedics in 2020.