Paramedic bravely waives her right to anonymity to relive shocking sex attack by patient in back of ambulance
A PARAMEDIC has bravely waived her right to anonymity to speak out about a sex attack by a patient.
Lizzie Smith was assaulted on duty while doing medical checks in an ambulance on a man who had been injured in a fight.
She reported her attacker to the police and this month he was fined and placed on the sex offenders' register for five years over the shocking assault.
Lizzie has now spoken out to highlight the scale of abuse suffered by medical staff.
It comes as the number of attacks on ambulance staff has soared, with assaults up by a third in just four years.
Lizzie told ITV: "I bent over slightly to put something in this bin and that's when he grabbed my bum."
"I like to think I'm quite feisty sometimes and I know what to say, and I would react quite quickly.
"But I think I jumped I was so shocked."
She added: "I felt a bit sick, I felt upset, and I didn't say anything."
Violent assaults on ambulance staff have rocketed in recent years, according to stats released by the GMB Union last summer.
Staff reported they had been bitten, stabbed and even sexually assaulted.
OUT OF CONTROL
- London Ambulance Service (LAS) said there were 848 attacks on paramedics in just eight months this year
- The shocking figure from January to August works out at more than 3.5 attacks each day in the capital
- Of the overall number, 499 were verbal attacks
- Another 349 where physical attacks on medical staff
- But in ten years only 330 people have been convicted
Ambulance staff were subjected to a total of 14,441 physical assaults between 2012/13 and January 2018, the union claimed, with almost three-quarters of staff affected.
In 2016/17, recorded attacks on ambulance workers averaged more than eight (8.2) every single day.
In June, the daughter of a paramedic revealed her mum's horrific injuries after she was beaten by a drunken reveller.
Brenda Fox was left covered in bruises after she was pinned to the floor of her ambulance at the weekend by a violent thug on a night out.
Last March, a paramedic was attacked in an ambulance "parking row" while responding to 999 call.
Lizzie said abuse from people receiving medical assistance is often part of her job.
Colleagues have also been targeted by patients, with attacks on weekend night shifts "expected", Lizzie said.
She said: "Sexually inappropriate comments I've had a lot of and I know friends have also had homophobic abuse, racial abuse.
"A weekend night shift you go into work expecting it to be honest."
Sexually inappropriate comments I've had a lot of and I know friends have also had homophobic abuse, racial abuse
London Ambulance Service (LAS) said there had been 349 reported physical assaults on staff between January and August this year.
Medical staff have been groped, punched and assaulted with weapons, with another 499 verbal attacks reported.
But despite paramedics and other front-line medical staff being targeted there were just 330 people convicted in ten years.
Lizzie hopes that by coming forward she can help raise awareness of the problem.
She said: "We do get so used to it – we get desensitized to it people don't make a fuss.
"And you know you've got to go to the next job, you know you're busy you don't report every comment that gets made to you or every inappropriate action that happens to you."
The GMB Union, which represents ambulance staff, said assaults have caused medical workers to quit their careers with PTSD.
GMB Regional Organiser Stacey Booth told ITV: "I've know individuals give up careers – 19, 20, 25 year careers and have left because of an assault – because of never being able to recover.
"Often it's months down the line they're impacted by post traumatic stress disorder and we're losing really skilled employees."
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