“The ones on ice think they’re 10-foot tall, bulletproof”

Hospital security guard speaks out about violence on the job.
Hospital security guard speaks out about violence on the job. Iain Curry

A FORMER Bundaberg Hospital security guard wants to see harsher penalties for those who assault healthcare workers extended to include emergency department security guards.

In 2014 the maximum penalty for assaulting paramedics, doctors and nurses doubled to 14 years jail and Tony D'Arcy, who spent 20 years working in hospitals in Bundaberg and Brisbane, said the nation's ice epidemic was making security guard work increasingly dangerous.

Now semi-retired, Mr D'Arcy said he respected nurses, doctors and paramedics and believed they should be protected, but said security guards should be protected in the same way.

"We've had a few of our blokes not working because they've been injured during their job," he said.

"I've had to take weapons off people.

"The ones on ice think they're 10-foot tall and bulletproof."

Mr D'Arcy said at six-foot five and about 130kg his size was intimidating and worked to his advantage, but those on ice were not thinking straight and would challenge guards more than twice their size.

"We've had guys that are five-foot five and 40kg standing in the bays of the emergency department wanting to take us on," he said.

"They think 'yeah, bring it on' - there's lots of that.

"You can't talk to them because their mouth's going five times faster than their brain. They have no idea what they're doing."

Mr D'Arcy spent 10 years at Bundaberg Hospital between 1996 and 2006 before moving to Brisbane and working at The Prince Charles Hospital.

He wants guards protected before it is too late.

"Police or ambos will sometimes call ahead and say they're bringing in someone who's violent and handcuffed," he said.

"Police and ambos are the first responders but then they unload them at the hospital and we take over.

"Police, ambos, doctors, nurses, psych nurses and all the mental health staff all deserve medals but no one is sticking up for the security guard.

"We're basically on the bottom rung of the ladder and it's not fair because we're the ones who put our lives on the line every time one of these idiots comes in.

"It's like a bad intersection - nothing will happen until something very serious happens."

Topics:  drugs health hospital ice security

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