A 50-year-old man who punched a nurse in the chest claimed he was experiencing hallucinations moments before the attack, Fermanagh Court has heard.
Gary Alexander McConnell, of Augher Road in Clogher, pleaded guilty to assaulting the nurse at the South West Acute Hospital where he was a patient.
He was fined £500 and ordered to pay the nurse £500 in compensation .
A prosecutor told the court that on April 6, police were called to SWAH following the report of a patient who assaulted a staff member.
The court heard that McConnell assaulted one of the nursing staff by punching her to the chest with a closed fist. McConnell, who was receiving one to one care as he was at risk of falling and injuring himself, had been told not to leave the room when he attacked the woman.
After he punched and pushed the nurse, he rang the police and handed the phone over to hospital staff and refused to go back in to the room until the police arrived.
During police interview, the defendant said he didn’t remember the incident but that it could have happened.
A defence solicitor explained to the court that McConnell suffered from seizures which is a result of his epilepsy.
“It’s been a distressing time for the defendant and he is devastated and fully regrets the incident.
“He took it upon himself to apologise to staff before he was discharged.
“He suffers from post-traumatic stress because of his previous employment and alcohol would have been used to help deal with the matter.
“But he is no risk of harm and he shows a willingness to work with health services.”
District Judge Nigel Broderick told McConnell that these types of offences were taken very seriously by the courts.
“That’s why I’m taking time to read the report by the health care assistant,” he added.
“She was there to make sure you did not sustain any injuries and she says you were hallucinating and talking about someone being in the room when there was no one there.
“She believed, in her opinion, you knew what you were doing. I can’t ignore you were undergoing some kind of medical compliant.
“Your health difficulties means you are not suitable for community service work.
“Thankfully she did not suffer any significant injuries but no doubt it would have been traumatic to be assaulted by a patient.
“In all these circumstances I’m prepared to deal with it by monetary penalty only because her opinion was that you were hallucinating.”
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