Hard-hit Wollongong paramedic suffers new blow

By Michelle Hoctor
Updated November 5 2012 - 10:55am, first published August 9 2009 - 12:16am
Mr King

Just days after Geordie King spoke out in the Mercury against assaults on ambulance paramedics, he became the victim of a third attack in as many weeks.The intensive care paramedic suffered rib injuries after allegedly being shoulder-charged out the back of an ambulance during a call-out on Saturday.The incident occurred on the same morning as NSW Health Minister John Della Bosca addressed the media on moves to protect paramedics, prompted by an attack on Mr King and three colleagues the previous weekend.A total of 120 NSW ambulance officers have been assaulted over the past 12 months, a 60 per cent increase on the previous year.In Saturday's attack, Mr King and a colleague attended a home in Lake Illawarra, at 4.50am to treat an Albion Park man who had suffered an injury to his palm.The man allegedly made threats against Mr King before shoulder charging him as he was being placed in an ambulance.Mr King was thrown backwards out of the vehicle and was taken to Wollongong Hospital suffering suspected rib fractures and severe bruising to his back. Meanwhile, the patient is alleged to have driven to a second address and called for another ambulance, before opting to drive to Wollongong Hospital, arriving at the same time as Mr King.Paramedics at the hospital notified police. The 24-year-old was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and intimidation and will appear at Port Kembla Local Court on September 30.Wollongong district ambulance manager Norm Rees said Mr King was now resting at home, upset he had been the victim of yet another assault."He had a difficult night, not only with his aches and pains but with everything running through his head," Mr Rees said.Last Tuesday Mr King, a veteran of 30 years, spoke with the Mercury about attacks on paramedics after it was revealed there had been 17 assaults on himself and his colleagues in the past two months.In the August 2 incident at Primbee, Mr King was allegedly assaulted and had his shirt ripped off his back. A Warilla man and a Towradgi woman, both aged 18, have been charged. Two years ago, he had all the fingers on one hand broken after having a bottle thrown at him. "I joined the service because I thought it was a very rewarding occupation where I could make a difference," Mr King said."On Sunday night, we had four officers ready to walk away from the job. That's how we felt, the whole lot of us. "We were all sore. We'd all received some sort of physical injury from these people."Mr Della Bosca said he was appalled by the attacks and would ask NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos to consider further protection for officers.

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