Horror of attacks on patients as they slept at Newham General Hospital

TWO elderly patients who were attacked in their hospital beds this morning are lucky to be alive, relatives have said tonight.

TWO elderly patients who were attacked in their hospital beds this morning are lucky to be alive, relatives have said tonight.

They were among five patients and two employees at Newham General Hospital, Plaistow, who were injured in an attack by another patient, carried out with an “improvised weapon” that was said to be like an iron bar.

Scotland Yard said staff called in police shortly after 12.40am on Saturday during the incident.

One woman, aged 75, has head injuries after the attack at the hospital in the early hours on a ward.

Another, aged 80, was hit on the arms and legs and has severe bruises after she pleaded with the attacker to stop hitting her fellow patient. Both of them are now recovering in the hospital ward but are “feeling scared” say relatives.

Patient Consuela Camacho, 75, was “critical” earlier today but is now said to be “serious but stable”, according to a Scotland Yard spokesman.

Most Read

Mrs Margaret George, 80, is stable after the attacker ripped out her drip and hit her on the arms and legs with the weapon. Three other male patients were hurt and two female staff suffered injuries while restraining the man. The patients were asleep when the attack happened.

Police said a 22-year-old man, a patient at the hospital, has been arrested, and is in custody under 24-hour guard.

A statement from Newham University Hospital NHS Trust confirmed they and the police were investigating the incident.

The Trust said the incident involved five patients and two clinical members of staff and said drugs or alcohol were not involved in the incident.

“Newham University Hospital NHS Trust places patients and their safety at the centre of our decision making.” said a spokeswoman. Senior management have been at the hospital all day Saturday to help with the inquiries and to check on patients and staff.

It is believed the man who carried out the attack was admitted with an infection. But it is now believed he may have mental health issues.

A police spokesman said the attack was carried out with an “improvised weapon.”

The grand-daughter of Mrs George, Mrs Larraine Thomas, 40, told the Recorder tonight: “My nan went in hospital to have a medical procedure and get better. Now she and another elderly lady have been attacked by a maniac. They are both terrified. The man came into the ward shouting and screaming and started attacking the lady opposite my nan (Mrs Camacho).

“He was hitting her around the head many times. My nan pleaded with him to stop, and he came over to her and ripped her drip out and then started hitting her on the arms and legs with what my nan said was like an iron bar.”

She said: “They are lucky to be alive.”

Mrs George lives in residential housing in Canning Town.

Another relative of one of the patients told us: “ This whole incident was sickening. The security staff were called many times. Then the nurses called 999. The police got to the ward 15 minutes after the incident started and still before hospital security.

“When a family arrived at the ward at 2pm the badly injured lady’s bedding was still covered in blood.”

Mrs Camacho, 75, has severe head injuries. Her daughter Melita Camacho told the BBC: “The nurses could not do much because he was so strong. He managed to somehow get where my mum’s bed is and then starting hitting her in the head with something metal.She was badly hit.”

She said her mother had been knocked out of bed by the force of the blows.

The attack only stopped when the female patient in the bed opposite, Mrs George, shouted at the assailant, who then turned his attentions to her, Ms Camacho said.

Mrs Thomas said a witness had told her that the attack was triggered when the assailant called for help from nurses and refused to wait. The witness told her the man began hitting his head repeatedly against a wall before picking up the bar and striking an approaching nurse, more than 35 times.He then left his ward and went into the other ward.

Both Mrs Camacho’s family and the relatives of Mrs George said they were now very confused and fearful of another attack.