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01 Jul 2022

Nurse assaulted by woman in Midlands hospital A&E

Half of Leitrim is over 42km from nearest A&E hospital

A woman who assaulted a nurse at Tullamore hospital was given the benefit of the probation act at Tullamore district court.

At 8pm on November 21, 2021 Sandra Ward (43) 34, Churchview Heights, Edenderry, was admitted to the Accident and Emergency unit of Tullamore hospital where she assaulted Nurse Catherine Lally biting her on the upper arm and causing it to bleed. Nurse Lally was traumatised by the incident and required medical attention including a tetanus injection and a HIV test.

Ms Ward, who is the mother of one daughter, was highly intoxicated. She was later arrested.

Her solicitor Donal Farrelly said Sandra Ward was taking steroids and antidepressants which had caused an allergic reaction resulting in a severe itch and swelling all over her body.

The defendant told Judge Patricia Cronin she had passed out and the first she heard of it was in January. She said she had no idea and couldn't believe what happened. Solicitor Donal Farrelly said Ms Ward is now off all medication.

Judge Cronin said this was a very serious matter and a section 3 assault carries a 5 year prison sentence. She said she was taking into account the aggravating circumstances at the hospital and commented that for a nurse to be assaulted is a very serious matter.
She took note of Ms Ward's guilty plea and that she had no previous convictions. She also read a medical report from her doctor stating that this was out of character. She noted she had been on steroids and antidepressants and one may have reacted with the other. She had no recollection of the event until Gardai told her.

Judge Cronin commented that the victim impact statement from nurse Lally made for difficult reading and remarked that nurses have had a difficult time over the last two years. She noted that compensation had been paid to nurse Lally.

She applied section 1.1 of the probation act, adding that she didn't believe that Sandra Ward would be before the court again. She noted she was hard working and had a 23 year old daughter who was getting on well.

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