ED nurse: ‘I was bullied by bosses after patient attack’

A FORMER emergency department nurse has told a court he was bullied by his supervisors after fighting off an attack by a drunk patient in the Cairns Hospital.

Lance Armstrong Waters, of Babinda, is suing the Queensland Government for lost earnings since the January 2014 incident, which he alleged resulted in shoulder and knee injuries and PTSD.

He said his managers turned on him after he fought off the assault.

"I had accusations and bullying and I felt the whole process intimidating," Mr Armstrong Waters said.

Mr Waters, who had also worked as a paramedic and in the armed services of Australia and the United Kingdom, told the court he was on duty at the Cairns Hospital ED as a fast track nurse whose duties included care for less than acute patients.

On January 19 he had less than an hour to go before handing over his shift to a relieving nurse when he approached two men resting under blankets in the ED waiting area.

"I asked are you ready?" Mr Armstrong Waters said.

He told the court he removed the blankets - only to be assaulted by one of the men.

"He said 'I'm going to kill you white c***.

"He sprang up and attacked me."

Mr Armstrong Waters told the court the patient "barrelled" into his body and tried to punch him.

"I tried to stop his attack him and defend myself - I managed told his arm into a pinion position."

CCTV footage played to court showed Mr Armstrong Waters restrain and escort the patient from the ED.

He said the patient had a known history of violence.

"He had attacked nurses, police on several occasions," Mr Armstrong Waters said.

He said he came under fire by the Clinical Nurse in Charge soon after the attack.

"She was quite hostile - she was using words like 'you had no right to restrain him, you are in a lot of trouble, I should call the police."

He said a second supervisor accused him of assaulting the patient.

Counsel for Mr Waters, Chris Ryall, told Cairns District Court the hospital failed "to follow guidelines formulated in the emergency department."

"There was a failure to provide proper training and a failure to provide a safe system of work."

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