Man jailed for attack on A&E doctor in UHG

A man who assaulted a doctor in the Emergency Department of University Hospital Galway was given a six-month prison sentence in his absence at Galway District Court.

A bench warrant was imposed on George O’Connor of Castletown, Gort for failing to appear before last week’s court hearing.

Three doctors, including Dr Ciarán McHale, the victim of the unprovoked assault on November 22 last year, gave evidence to the court and CCTV footage from the Emergency Dept (ED) was shown in court so O’Connor could be identified.

Dr McHale said he had been sitting on a chair, checking a scan on a computer in an office part of the ED when he noticed a man coming into the area and lunging at him.

The lunge meant Dr McHale was thrown to the floor where O’Connor grabbed his scrubs, ripped his shirt and headbutted him. He also scratched and scraped the doctor.

Dr McHale told the court O’Connor had also attempted to bite and spit at him. O’Connor was not known to him personally but two other doctors gave evidence that they knew him from previous visits to the hospital.

Security arrived and separated the two men and O’Connor was held until Gardaí arrived.

Judge Mary Fahy, in imposing the six-month sentence for the assault on Dr McHale, said doctors and staff were under “extreme pressure and the last thing they expect is to be assaulted . . . the shock of it alone.”

The court further heard evidence from a woman in a separate case against O’Connor who trespassed at her home in the Claddagh on January 14 last.

She told the Court she had left her young daughter in the house for only ten minutes while she went to pick up her son from a swimming class nearby.

On her arrival home, she saw a white plastic bag in the hall with the front door open and saw a man, who has since been identified as O’Connor, sitting on a couch in the sitting room. She described him as “a mess, he was drunk and incoherent and I asked him to leave”.

She explained that her daughter knew not to open the front door to anyone, but O’Connor had rung the doorbell continuously and her daughter thought it was her brother and went to open the door.

He pushed the young girl aside and she ran to her bedroom and stayed there till her mother came home a few minutes later.

While the woman went to ring the Gardaí, O’Connor had disappeared, but was later found in the hotpress.

“I was calm for my children’s sake, but no way would I ever leave her again on her own. I never imagined this would happen,” she told Judge Mary Fahy.

Judge Fahy ordered a bench warrant for his arrest saying that he would be getting a prison sentence for trespassing also.