Drug addict attacked Sunderland nurse who tried to treat him

Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Sunderland Royal Hospital.
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Hospital chiefs have welcomed court action against a drug addict who injured a nurse who was trying to help him.

Liam Cummings attacked the nurse at Sunderland Royal Hospital after he was brought in by police with a suspected drug overdose.

It was believed he had taken an overdose, he was aggressive and yelling at other patients in the corridor.

Prosecutor Andrea Pitt

The hospital say 126 of its staff were hurt by patients last year and underlined their “zero tolerance” approach to the issue.

Magistrates in Sunderland heard Cummings, 33, kicked the nurse as he lay handcuffed on a bed at its accident and emergency department.

He also assaulted two police officers who were trying to restrain him.

Prosecutor Andrea Pitt said the incident began earlier that day when police saw a “heavily intoxicated” Cummings at the BP garage on Grindon Broadway on April 25.

“He refused to leave the forecourt and walked off towards Grindon,” Miss Pitt said.

“He stood next to a bin and started to open bags of household rubbish. He had a blue substance around his mouth and his tongue was blue.”

He was arrested and police found 10 blue tablets in his pocket.

“Upon arrival in custody his behaviour became aggressive and abusive and he was transported to Sunderland Royal Hospital for treatment due to being so clearly intoxicated,” Miss Pitt said.

“It was believed he had taken an overdose, he was aggressive and yelling at other patients in the corridor.”

Cummings was placed on a bed in handcuffs and staff nurse Abbie Telfer was allocated to treat him, the court heard.

“He was shaking and spitting and was given a sedative, but this appeared to have no effect on him” Miss Pitt said.

“Ms Telfer was feeding his IV drip and there were two police officers present. “One was at the bottom of the bed and one was at the side.

“She says Cummings kicked out with both his legs, striking her hard on the right thigh. He then kicked out again, hitting the male officer in the face. He then hit out at the female officer.”

Miss Telfer, who sustained a large bruise to her leg, said in a victim statement tread out in court: “I come to work to help people, I do not expect to be assaulted.”

The two officers were seen by a doctor, but were able to stay on duty.

Cummings, of Australia Tower, Lakeside Village, admitted three counts of assault and attempted possession of a Class C drug.

A probation report told of how he started taking ecstasy, cannabis and cocaine at the age of 14, before moving onto crack cocaine and heroin.

Angus Westgarth, defending, said his client has no recollection of the incident, but that he had no intention of inflicting harm on anybody.

“He has lost control, that doesn’t afford him a defence, but I don’t think anyone lost any time off work as a result of the incident with Mr Cummings,” Mr Westgarth added.

Cummings was sentenced to a 12-month community order with nine months of drug rehabilitation and a 30-day activity programme.

He was fined £10 and told to pay £100 in compensation to the nurse, £150 costs, £180 criminal courts charge and a £60 surcharge.