From the BBC (and thanks to everyone who pointed this story out to me)
A woman who drunkenly abused doctors, nurses and ambulance staff in Leeds has been banned from calling the ambulance service in England and Wales.
Kathryn Gummery, 28, received the Asbo, which also bans her from the two main hospitals in Leeds, at the city's magistrates' court on Thursday.
Great, about time – people like these are a terrible drain on the NHS*.
An exception to the terms would be made if she had a genuine medical emergency.
Which will make this ASBO pretty much useless for the ambulance service. You see (and if there are any crews that know her, please let me know if I'm wrong) I would imagine that most calls to her are 'female collapsed in street'. Or even 'female with chest pain'. Either of these are emergency calls. Maybe she phones herself, in which case I'm sure that she has realised that saying yes to the question 'have you got chest pain' means that she has an immediate ambulance.
So ambulance Control will no doubt continue sending to her, crews will continue running to her and they will probably keep taking her to hospital.
Why will they keep taking her to hospital? Because they don't want to be the crew who leaves her at home only for her to choke on her vomit or fall over and break her neck. Coroners can ask some awkward questions and in the normal run of things the ambulance crew would probably lose their job.
They don't want to be the crew who leaves her in the street only for someone else to call. And if they call the police because she has breached her ASBO, the police won't want her either because you can't have drunks in police cells in case they die.
And I find it hard to imagine a magistrate locking her up for the breach (if only because she is the 'victim of a disease'*).
What did strike me as funny (and all emphasis is mine).
Police, hospital chiefs and the council applied for the Asbo due to Gummery's catalogue of aggressive behaviour.
“We're absolutely committed to working towards the policy of zero tolerance when it comes to violence and aggression towards our staff.”
'Zero tolerance' indeed, if it needs a 'catalogue' of aggressive behaviour to force legal action of some kind.
*OK, here is the thing – I'm wondering where we draw the line on medicalising bad behaviour. It seems that everyone is 'ill' these days rather than 'bad'. Alcoholism is a disease, heroin addiction is a disease, beating grannies up to feed an addiction is a disease and being violent towards people is a disease.
Very seldom does the thought that some people may have become alcoholics or heroin addicts just because they were chasing a bit of fun at other peoples expense come into view. There is always some 'reason' behind it, some reason why they are the 'victim'.
There is a continuum of behaviour from 'ill' stretching all the way to 'just plain nasty'. At what point do we draw the line on the continuum where we say that the person isn't 'diseased', but is just a nasty person to know?
An alcoholic who refuses treatment, keeps drinking and is a drain on the NHS. Well aren't they just 'diseased'? If so, why the ASBO?
This is definitely a topic for a post on it's own.