A violent South Tyneside thug who launched a drug-fuelled bite attack on a hospital nurse who was trying to treat her has been locked up.
Jessica Taylor had been rushed to South Tyneside District Hospital after passing out from the effects of a cocktail of cocaine, legal highs and alcohol when she sunk her teeth into the hand of a ward sister.
Nurses union chiefs say staff face daily threats of physical violence and abuse, while hospital bosses say they will not tolerate aggression in any form.
The 20-year-old had hurled foul-mouthed abuse at the nurse and fellow staff members before carrying out the vicious attack while ‘off her face’ on drugs.
The nurse had to undergo blood tests as a result of the assault, the results of which will not be known for months.
But unrepentent Taylor told police after her arrest that she was only concerned that she could catch Aids from biting the nurse and didn’t care about the risks posed to her victim.
Taylor, of Richmond Road, South Shields, had been warned she faced jail after admitting assault and using threatening, abusive words or behaviour at an earlier hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
She was locked up for 20 weeks and ordered to pay £200 compensation to the nurse after being brought back to the dock for sentencing.
Peta Clark, operational manager for the Royal College of Nursing Northern Region, said: “This case serves as an important and timely reminder that nurses face the threat of physical violence and abuse at work daily. It is appalling that a nurse should be assaulted when trying to go about her job caring for patients. “Physical attacks like this one can leave nurses with short and long term physical injuries, but can also damage their confidence and leave them feeling vulnerable.
“It is important that incidents like these are taken very seriously by employers, the police and the courts.
“We want a very clear message to go out that violence and abuse against nurses and other healthcare staff, is simply not acceptable”.
Steve Jamieson, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s director of estates and facilities, added: “Our trust works closely in partnership with Northumbria Police to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and visitors.
“Where there are instances of violence and aggression endangering anyone on our premises, we always seek to take legal action.”
Jeanette Smith, prosecuting, said at the earlier hearing that Taylor “was in an agitated state, was abusive and was lashing out with her arms and legs”.
She added: “The nurse placed her hand on her shoulder but Taylor swore at her and bit her on the left hand, causing a minor puncture wound.”
In a victim statement read in court, the nurse said: “I am very angry that I hav been assaulted in an unprovoked attack.
“I was doing my best to help her now I have had to undergo blood tests which will take months for the results to come back.”
Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said: “She accepts she did not cover herself in any glory with her conduct that day.
“She does ask me to express her apologies to the hospital for what happened that day.”