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Man, 62, accused of brutal machete attack inside hospital ED

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 2 Apr 2024, 1:41PM

Man, 62, accused of brutal machete attack inside hospital ED

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 2 Apr 2024, 1:41PM

A man accused of a midnight machete attack at Wairarapa Hospital’s emergency department - allegedly resulting in a head wound, a cracked skull and emergency surgery - is set to appear in court today charged with wounding causing grievous bodily harm.

The defendant, a 62-year-old Masterton resident, is believed to have entered the ED around 11pm Saturday.

He allegedly approached the receptionist and asked where a woman known to him was being treated. When told, the man entered a cubicle, pulled a machete out from his hoodie and struck another man who was accompanying the female patient in the head, according to authorities and witnesses.

It is understood the victim suffered a severe laceration to his head and a fractured skull following the machete attack, requiring emergency surgery. Police, however, described “moderate” injuries to the complainant, who knew the defendant. A spokesperson for the Capital and Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) said earlier that the person was in a stable condition.

The defendant was set to make his first appearance today in Masterton District Court, according to court documents. If convicted of wounding causing grievous bodily harm, he could face a sentence of up to 14 years’ imprisonment.

He was also charged with assaulting a woman in a family relationship on the same day as well as alleged threats to kill her on that day and two weeks earlier.

“There was a lot of blood as with all head wounds, [on the] walls, floor [and] hallway,” an employee who asked not to be named earlier told the Herald.

The female patient and a junior doctor allegedly disarmed the defendant, who then stood with his hands behind his back and surrendered to police when they arrived.

The hospital did not appear to have security guards on hand when the incident occurred, RNZ reported today. Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Sarah Dalton told the media outlet that 24-hour security was not standard in small hospital emergency departments.

“They may have one or more security staff on-site, but they may be far away from the emergency department,” she explained.

The hospital staffer who spoke with the Herald said the hospital was essentially forced into lockdown, with a senior nurse telling the receptionist to lock all doors around her office and call police.

“Some patients in cubicles were evacuated to the waiting room, some were not able to be because of [their] condition, location and timing,” the employee said, explaining that up to 12 patients were in the ED at the time.

The staffer said employees were terrified to return to work on Sunday given an alleged lack of security and CCTV cameras at the hospital, saying staff had allegedly been pressing for improvement for years.

The article was originally published on NZ Herald, here

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