A man has gone to court over an assault outside Box Hill Hospital that left a surgeon fighting for life. This was as a result of a misunderstanding after Patrick Pritchard stopped a man from smoking at the hospital entrance.It is understood that the surgeon was struck by his attacker causing him to fall to the ground. The attacker Mr. Joseph Esmaili who is aged twenty two was arrested last evening and facing charges of intentionally causing serious injury.
Mr.Patrick Pritzwald- Stegmann is a highly skilled surgeon. According to Epworth Healthcare’s website, he has worked with the lung cancer centre and the cardiothoracic centres in Europe. He is a holder of a bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Otago in Dunedin. According to an Epworth website, Dr. Patrick was able to deliver the toughest surgeries safely and effectively, while reducing surgical trauma.
It is understood that the accused Mr Esmaili has psychiatric illnesses and withdrawing from drug addiction. His case was heard by the magistrate today. He has been remanded until the 24th of August when his case will be heard. Dr. Pritzwald-Stegmann is admitted at Alfred Hospital and is still in a critical condition.
The attack was branded obscene by the Royal Australian College of Surgeons. Dr Crozier reiterated that such violence is unacceptable as the brain is a delicate organ and human beings are fragile creatures. The president of AMA Victoria Dr Lorraine Baker, said that such acts of violence against healthcare workers were a usual and common occurrence. Dr. Barker said that health workers should be able to work in a safe environment without having to fear for their lives. She said that such violence is a bad reality and usually a regular occurrence for healthcare workers that work in emergency departments. It has become a reality that they have to contend with.
Research has shown that those at greater risk of violence are health professionals as compared to patients. Mr. Martin Foley who is the acting Health Minister said his thought were with the family of the surgeon. He went on to say that his government would be in communication with health groups and set up new safety measures in hospitals to respond to the incident.
Mr Foley mentioned that the government had put in more than $20 million in the recent budget to make hospitals secure. Despite an overhaul of the security measures on majority of the hospitals, an attack at the entrance of the hospital raises questions.
Dr. Michael Wong a Neurosurgeon is also a victim of the same violent attacks. He was stabbed and almost killed. He was working at Western General Hospital in Footscray in 2014. He castigated the lack of improvement in security for hospital personnel, in the last three years since his attack.
The Tuesday attack should set a turning point in terms of security for healthcare personnel. We have to learn from the horrific tragedy that has taken place. We have to provide all the health personnel with a safe place to do their jobs. Our aim should be to prevent occupational violence.
Anyone who was there and saw the alleged attack on Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann or who has further information should contact the through crimestoppersvic.com.au. Let us all join hand and get justice for Mr. Pritzwald-Stegmann and the whole healthcare fraternity.