St John assists 13 violence cases

National

By MALINDA KALE
ST JOHN ambulance responded to 13 alcohol-related violence cases, including a death, in Port Moresby during the State of Origin rugby league match on Wednesday, says chief executive officer Matthew Cannon.
Both ambulance and Port Moresby General Hospital staff said it was both tragic and ridiculous as such violence was unnecessary and wanted something done about it.
Hospital chief emergency specialist Dr Sam Yockopua said the hospital had been struggling with the limited resources and preventable injuries such as alcohol-related and State of Origin-related fights just stretched the hospital staff and other resources.
“In the past, we put some barriers in the hopes to slow down the violence load, we charged K50 and K100 for State of Origin-related incidents but in the last three-four years, the hospital decided to remove the fees,” he said.
“Maybe it is time to relook at those issues in the hope to minimise such incidents from happening.
“I think injuries and violence resulting from drinking and watching the State of Origin are completely uncalled for and are bad behaviour. A such a time we’re struggling to cope with the patient load, preventable injuries such as alcohol related or State of Origin-related fights should not cause any traffic jam in our work place.”
Cannon said between 6pm on Wednesday and 6am yesterday St John was called to attend the emergency cases which were far more than normal.
He said in most cases patients sustained knife injuries and one person had died.
He said there seemed to be a correlation between alcohol and violence and encouraged people to drink alcohol responsibly.
“Alcohol is there to be enjoyed responsibly and many people we saw that night were certainly enjoying it responsibly, I think it is important that we also define what is responsible drinking,” Cannon said.
The man who died was the result of a drunken brawl that began around 10pm on Wednesday at the Talai settlement in Badili, police said.
Commander NCD/Central assistant commissioner Donald Yamasombi said the fight began among 10 men who were drinking homebrew.
He said the man was killed when the fight escalated after relatives joined the brawl.
He said police units that arrived at the scene last night were attacked with rocks thrown from the hills overlooking Talai and they had to withdraw. He said he later went in with reinforcements and brought the situation under control.
“There are still people up on the hills throwing rocks down but we have got zone one units sweeping the area from the other side so they will catch them or flush them down to where we are,” he said,
Metro Supt Perou N’dranou confirmed three major incidents on Wednesday during the State of Origin rugby league match.
N’dranou said there were two deaths and one serious injury – all at separate locations but all alcohol-related.
The other death occurred at Erima.

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