Westmorland General Hospital security guard suspended after assaulting patient

A SECURITY guard at Westmorland General Hospital has been fined after assaulting a patient.

Alan Andrew Johnson, 28, of Grasmere Road, Blackpool, was hired by a security company to work at the Kendal hospital in March, and admitted to assaulting William Kitchin at South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court on Monday, August 9.

Mr Kitchin, who is 68 years of age, had been a patient at the hospital on March 4, as he required a knee replacement.

Following his operation, Mr Kitchin was then suffering from post-operative delirium, a state of confusion that can occur after operations.

Prosecutor Lee Dacre told the court that Mr Kitchin was causing trouble on his ward by waving about a crutch, which prompted hospital staff to call for security guard Johnson to attend.

Mr Dacre said: “The complainant was suffering from post-operative delirium and became agitated and started waving a crutch at hospital staff.

“The staff asked for security and the defendant attended the ward.

“Mr Kitchin had then struck an oxygen canister, causing it to break.”

After breaking the canister, the court heard that Johnson was heard making inappropriate comments towards Mr Kitchin, before taking out a cigarette lighter and making a joke.

Johnson was then hit on the arm by Mr Kitchin’s crutch.

The defendant reacted by taking the crutch and pushing Mr Kitchin in the chest with it, causing him to fall backwards.

Hospital staff said Johnson’s reaction was wrong and an excessive use of force, the court heard.

Johnson has now been suspended by the security company, with the defendant deeply sorry for the offence, defence solicitor Maureen Fawcett said.

Ms Fawcett told the court: “The night before, the complainant used a crutch to smash a window.

“Mr Johnson was just frightened he was going to hurt someone with his crutch, he may have hurt somebody – he was doing a job in his view.

“He accepts that he went to the extreme of using excessive force.

“He does accept that he caused the complainant to fall.

“It was beyond what he should have been doing in his job.

“He said he apologises for any hurt caused.”

Chair of the bench Jackie Forster imposed a £239 fine on Johnson for the offence.

Ms Forster said: “We have taken into account your early guilty plea and remorse, but that is offset by the fact you were in a position of trust.”

The Westmorland Gazette | News