Tasmanian doctor critical but stable after ED attack

Doctors have called for emergency department safety to be reviewed after one of them was stabbed.

Doctors have called for emergency department safety to be reviewed after one of them was stabbed. Photo: AAP

A doctor stabbed inside a regional Tasmanian emergency department is still in a critical, but stable condition.

Australian Medical Association Tasmania president John Saul confirmed that the doctor had been stabbed at North West Regional Hospital in Cooee, on the state’s northwest coast on Sunday night.

In a statement on Monday, Dr Saul said emergency department staff are well aware of the possibility of experiencing violence while at work, but it was still shocking when it happens.

“While we do not know the details surrounding this event, we know hospitals are dealing with people who are experiencing trauma, mental health episodes or drug psychosis and may react in unpredictable ways,” Dr Saul said.

But he called on the Tasmanian Health Service to urgently review safety protocols and measures to look for ways to improve safety for patients and staff in emergency departments.

The victim was airlifted to the Royal Hobart Hospital in a critical condition.

On Monday Premier Jeremy Rockliff confirmed the male doctor’s condition was critical, but stable.

“On behalf of the Tasmanian Government, our thoughts and prayers go to our staff member, his family and friends, and to all staff and patients that have been impacted by this incident,” Mr Rockliff said in a statement.

“The safety and well being of our staff and patients is our number one priority and professionally trained security professionals are employed at all our public hospitals.

“Critical incident support protocols have been initiated by the Department of Health to provide the necessary support to any staff and patients impacted.”

Department of Health secretary Kathrine Morgan-Wicks a critical incident review would determine if any safety improvements were needed for emergency treatment areas.

Police said a youth was arrested soon after the isolated incident, with no threat to the wider community.

It is unclear whether the youth has yet been charged.


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