‘Attacks won’t put me off’
AMBULANCE technician Bob Burness was left bloodied and bruised – after he was attacked by the patient he was trying to help.
The grandfather-of-five (pictured) was left with blood pouring down his nose when a man he had been sent to assist lashed out at him. His injuries were of such concern that an ambulance had to be called out to help him.
Bob and his team were called to reports of an unconscious man slumped in the stairwell of Braybrook House in West Bromwich. The 59-year-old dad-of-two, from Great Barr, said: “We started doing our assessments and at this point he started to wake up and get more aggressive. He threw a beer can at a woman volunteer student and then squared up to her – so I stepped in front of him to calm him down. “Without warning, he just headbutted me. He kept hitting me on the nose and mouth, which knocked me back. Next thing, he chased the paramedic up the stairs. At this stage, I had recovered enough and I ran upstairs, too. Between us, we managed to bring him downstairs and restrained him until the police arrived.” Meanwhile, another ambulance was called to take care of Bob’s own injuries. He suffered soft tissue damage to his nose and headaches for a couple of days. Bob, who worked for nearly 30 years as a firefighter for West Mid- lands Fire Service before joining the ambulance service, says attacks on crews have become routine.
“I’ve been pushed down stairs; I’ve been spat at,” he said. “It’s almost normal for certain members of the community who attack us for no obvious reason – but it won’t put me off.”
Donald Hornby, 25, of no fixed abode, was charged with the assault on Bob and jailed for 12 weeks and handed a £250 fine.
Nathan Hudson, Ambulance Service general manager for Birmingham, said: “We are disappointed that it is not longer.
“Is 12 weeks enough for a serious assault on a member of ambulance staff who had been called to try to help the defendant?
“It is disappointing that our staff suffer physical and verbal abuse when all they are trying to do is help.”