A psychiatric nurse in University Hospital Galway has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for assaulting another nurse with a syringe filled with sedating, anti- psychotic medication.

The Irish Times is reporting that Kofi Kankam (48), 15 The Clarin, Athenry, Co Galway, denied a charge of assaulting Emer Hyland, causing her harm, at the Psychiatric Unit of UHG, on February 5th last year.

Ms Hyland, who is in her twenties, told a hearing at Galway District Court yesterday  that gardaí came into the male ward with a patient that evening who was very unwell. She was dealing with another patient at the time who had absconded. She was sitting in the nurse’s station having just got off the phone from speaking to security about that patient when she suddenly felt a sharp pinch in her left side.

Kankam had been standing behind her.  Another nurse was holding a kidney dish which contained two syringes, which had been prepared for the patient the gardaí had brought in. Ms Hyland  jumped up and saw blood coming from her side. She and the other nurse  went into a linen closet to examine her side. Kankam came in and said he was sorry.

Management was made aware of the incident and while Ms Hyland was brought to A&E for treatment, Kankam was escorted as far as the door and told to go home.

In court, Ms Hyland said she had been traumatised by the incident and while she had loved working in Galway, she had since moved to another psychiatric unit in Mayo.

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