Two accused of assaulting ICU patient

Editorial image.
Editorial image.

Two women have appeared in court accused of assaulting a patient with head and spinal injuries in the Intensive Care Unit.

Bridget Mongan (23), Of Stanleys Walk, and 29-year-old Eileen Stokes, with an address in Newtonstewart, are jointly charged with attempted grievous bodily harm with intent, three charges of common assault and disorderly behaviour in Altnagelvin Hospital.

The charges relate to an alleged incident on January 4.

Derry Magistrates Court heard allegations that Mongan and Stokes had been in ICU throughout the day visiting their brother and partner respectively. He was in a semi conscious state as a result of head and spinal injuries.

They allegedly left the hospital for a while and came back intoxicated. The court was told Mongan allegedly slapped and punched her brother about the face and shouted abuse at the medical staff.

It is alleged the women tried to pull drips from the patient and his medical condition became more unstable as a result.

The court heard claims they continued to slap the man and at one stage a doctor had to lean across the patient to try to protect his head.

Staff eventually told the women if they left the patient alone they would try to wake him up.

Mongan and Stokes left the ward only to allegedly return a short time later. They were initially refused entry to the ward, however managed to get in when the door was opened by staff going into the ward.

The court heard allegations that despite staff efforts to stop them, Stokes began pulling at the man’s arm trying to move him about the ward.

During police interview, Mongan said she had been drinking alcohol, didn’t have a great recollection about what happened but claimed she had been asking doctors to wake her brother up.

Stokes claimed she had only held her partner’s hand whilst at the hospital.

Opposing bail, an investigating officer said there had been an earlier incident at the hospital which was not reported to police because the women agreed to leave. He added that police are concerned further harm could be caused to the alleged injured party if the women are released on bail.

Defence solicitor Keith Kyle said it was ‘not a pleasant incident’ but neither of his clients went to the hospital ‘with the intention of causing harm’.

He added that both Mongan and Stokes have problems with alcohol.

Refusing bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said it was an ‘outrageous incident’ which could have been much more serious except for the actions of medical staff.

He added the alleged incident was an ‘invasion of the ICU which should be a place of sanctuary and as long as this man is in ICU there two cannot be let out’.

Mongan and Stokes were remanded in custody until January 23.