Assault (Again)

Someone tried to assault me on Sunday – an alcoholic who was brought into hospital drunk, then sat outside to continue her drinking. She then decided to wander off home while still attached to and IV, IV bag and drip stand.

Another crew came across her and were trying to deal with her but already had a patient in the back of their ambulance, so we decided to help out and take the 'patient' back to the A&E department to have the IV removed.

As I was waiting to chat to the nurses about her she because louder and aggressive and I told her to behave – she then threw her mobile phone at me. I call that 'refusing treatment', so I removed the IV and, in an armlock, marched her out of the department and told her to 'go away'.

There is paperwork to be filled in, but honestly – what is the point? I've never had any feedback on the other times I've been assaulted, never been to court, never heard of anyone being prosecuted.

And then you hear this story,

Ann Sumner had much of her hair pulled out of her head, she was punched and scratched and left with a form of whiplash in her shoulder.All because she had stopped her rapid response vehicle to attend to a drunken girl in a Manchester city centre street.

The student, 20-year-old Melissa Massey, was jailed for eight weeks on Monday after she pleaded guilty to assaulting the paramedic in the early hours of New Years Day.

Excellent – a custodial sentence for someone who has assaulted a medic who was sent to help her.

But then a few days later,

A high-flying student jailed for viciously attacking a paramedic has been freed after just four days of her sentence.

Melissa Massey, 20, was slumped in a drunken stupor on Princess Street in Manchester when ambulance worker Ann Sumner went to her aid on New Year's Eve. But the Oxford Brookes undergraduate, who is expected to gain a first class business degree this summer, responded by punching Miss Sumner in the face and pulling out clumps of her hair.

Before sentencing, she said she had no memory of the ten-minute attack because she was so drunk and that she was mortified by what she had done.

Of course, it's not her fault – she is just a victim,

Alistair Reid, representing Massey, said prison had been a 'short, sharp shock' for the student.

He said she had 'absolute sympathy' for the victim because she had been run over by a drunk-driver as a child. This experience, he claimed, had left her 'particularly apprehensive around medical staff'. 'That was the only possible explanation she can give why she lashed out and reacted in such an appalling manner,' he added

So you can see why, for reasons unconnected with any assault that I have received, why 'filling in the paperwork' feels like a complete waste of time.

If an alcoholic throws a phone at me, tries to punch me, spits at me, kicks me or is at all aggressive towards me then the chances of them ending up in court are slim – and if they do end up in court they just show how they are the victim because of their illness (and for 'illness', read 'poor life choices') and in doing so, even if found guilty, receive a tiny sentence.

Let's face it, this isn't an uncommon situation.

However, I do think that this video from the Netherlands is really rather good – although I wonder how long the billboard was paid for before being taken over by a drinks company…

Thanks to everyone who sent me links to the BBC/Mail articles, and special thanks to Ed who sent me the link to the video.

14 thoughts on “Assault (Again)”

  1. With a change in government, we hope for a change in attitude. Hopefully we can take pictures again. Almost everyone has a phone so that sounds like agood idea.

  2. Actually you can take photos of incidents. The occasions that journalists love to pounce upon where they've been stopped from taking shots was either to protect decency (where they were trying to push through people to get to the scene of an accident to take photos), or where they've been asked to account for what they are doing (a simple question) and they've refused to give information. In all of the recorded incidents, adequate grounds were given to ask them to stop taking photos.Please, take as many photo's of incidents as you like. NHS CFSMS love photos as it means that they can push it through as evidence.

  3. I know some of the folk commenting on that article are clearly just trolls, but some others seem to hold genuinely disturbing viewpoints…

  4. REALLY nice setup with that billboard. I was amused how it showed everyone standing and gawping at the billboard and nobody glancing at the depicted area.”Make photos for the police and file a report” – can't do that in the UK, 'specially if police are the ones being assaulted. It's the law: might help the terrorists, don'tcha know.

  5. Taking Photos/Videos of police activity is frowned upon in the USA also.And by 'frowned upon' I mean 'taser'.

    My opinion is the police should be wearing audio/video recorders that

    become evidence for whatever they are doing.

    Gunsight cameras especially.

    That might be a good idea for Firefighters and EMTs as well.

  6. We will have to how this one pans out!

    But aside all this, can i direct people to the Ambulance Sevices Benevolent Fund

    We are here help any person employed within the Ambulance Service who finds themselves in hardship from such as Accidents, assult, long term sick, or some one in there immediate family. Last year we help with Respite care,Domestic aids, Long term sick, Financial problems,Diasbility aids

  7. Absolutely horrendous and disgusting. I've been spat at and lashed out at but the level of attack inflicted on these paramedics, especially the one by the 2 men is unexcusable! Not jailed because they might loose their jobs in public service?! Unbelievable.My family read reports like this a its adds to their worry of me doing this job.

  8. For the EMTs, a dashboard camera that records pedestrians and drivers witha poor grasp of what the blue lights and all the noise means.

  9. Assaults, even with weapons, are dealt with far more leniently than they were even 10 years ago. Its almost as though violence is becoming an accepted part of life and society. Courts free those who commit acts that leave others permanently disabled or disfigured with the lame excuse they were drunk or they acted out of character. Even repeat offenders are given another last chance. Lets hope this government will have the guts to realise we want to go about our daily lives without having to fear becoming another casualty. We shall see, but somehow I cant see much changing.

  10. Drunkenness is not accepted as an excuse – it's an aggravating factor, increasing the sentence. Other aggravating factors in Tom's case would be: use of a weapon; victim serving the public; and in a hospital. Four aggravating factors, and no mitigation, would make a custodial sentence likely – although it wouldn't be as long as you (or I) would like it to be, because we are very restricted on the length of the custodial sentences we can impose.I have found too many assaults being under-charged by the CPS (common assault rather than ABH, for example), and I think this may be where your perception of leniency has come from. When this happens, we can rarely impose the sentence that the offence – and the injuries – deserve.

    I am extremely disappointed that it is rare to have cases of assaults on ambulance staff come to court . When they do, we treat them seriously – but unless you make the complaint in the first case, Tom, there's no chance! Please report all incidents – not only are we (as magistrates) required to take such assaults very seriously, I believe that (at least) the vast majority of us actually want to!

  11. The 8 week sentence dropped to 4 days really doesnt surprise me. Until recently what happened was this: the court sentences some scroat to an 8 week sentence, he (she) would then serve only 4 weeks inside as the prisons are a bit full, (anyone thought about building more prisons?). However, there was an early release scheme, which drops 18 days off the end of a prison sentence, (this again was because the prisons are a bit full) would then kick in and that would leave 10 days for a prison term.Oh, they dont release on a Saturday or Sunday, and the first day inside is the day of the court case, so you could drop a further 3 days because of the weekend.

    So the bottom line would be go to prison for 8 weeks, but spend 7 nights in jail.


  12. this really upsets me Melissa Massey attacked me a in a drunken rage one night what is her excuse for that I was not a paramedic just an innocent woman on a night out enjoying myself who was attacked by this viscious young woman while being screamed at I was also punched in the face and had chunks of my hair pulled out I still suffer flashbacks Melissa left me scared to go out and scared to be around other women for fear of such unpredicatability.She is nothing but a violent thug and the next time she attacks someone which she will lets just hope the judge has the common sense to inflict a decent punishment. I can only feel for Ann who was actually trying to help Melissa we need to show that you can not just go round getting drunk attack whoever you like and then have a four day holiday in a cell. What about the long term effects Melissa has had on me Ann Summer and probably many other women

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