A Victorian paramedic was “centimetres from death” when she was slashed in the chest by a former patient as she buckled her two children into the car.
The woman is now recovering at home after spending a night in hospital, but the wound was “a few centimetres away from being life ending,” Ambulance Victoria chief executive Tony Walker said.
The Associate Professor expressed outrage as described the “abhorrent” and “disgusting” alleged attack on yet another paramedic as she made her way home from work, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, on Friday evening.
“She’s been assaulted by someone who we think we may have treated as a patient in the past, who’s reached in behind her in the car and basically slashed her chest with a knife,” he told 3AW radio on Monday.
The female paramedic was off-duty, but was in uniform, on her way home from work in Rosebud when she was allegedly attacked by a man with a knife.
The paramedic suffered a 15-centimetre gash to her chest after being allegedly attacked.
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“We think she’s been targeted because she was in uniform… it’s just disgusting,” Associate Professor Walker said.
“In this case, our staff member had finished her shift, had picked up some dinner on the way home and was buckling her two young children into the back seat of her car when she was allegedly assaulted from behind.
“I feel deeply shocked and very concerned that this incident happened in front of two very small children and in a very public location.”
Ambulance Victoria responded to the incident and the paramedic was treated at the scene and then transported to Peninsula Health.
A 47-year-old man was arrested on Saturday in relation to the attack, Victoria Police confirmed. The man, of no fixed place of address, is assisting police with their enquiries.
“Attacks against any uniformed staff, be they paramedics, police or any other emergency service worker are absolutely unacceptable, whether they are on, or off duty at the time,” he said.
The incident comes in the wake of widespread community support for paramedics earlier this year when the sentences of two women who had been found guilty of assaulting paramedics in 2016 were reduced on appeal.
“Paramedics and other emergency service workers go to work every day to help keep people safe and well and they should not have to deal with violence as part of their jobs, whether they are on or off duty,” Associate Professor Walker said.
“It’s never OK to attack or assault emergency service workers,” he said.
The paramedic is recovering at home and being supported by Ambulance Victoria.
Ambulance Victoria is working closely with Victoria Police in relation to the incident.