A YOUNG man, who has not yet been named by police, has been sentenced to nine months in prison for spraying a doctor and his patient in the face with a fire extinguisher in Benalmadena.
The Malaga Medical Union (SMM) has praised the speed with which the attacker was brought to justice and is now demanding the area’s health centres be fitted with CCTV and panic buttons and given security guards.
The man, who has also been given a €300 fine and order to pay €250 in compensation, committed the offence in the early hours of Sunday, and was swiftly convicted under Spain’s speedy trial process.
The perpetrator is said to have become angry after calling Benalmadena’s home health service complaining he had ingested several litres of beer and other alcohol and was told his case would not be given priority as it was not disease-related.
He later turned up at the health centre’s emergency department in person where he was evaluated in triage and told to remain in the waiting room for a doctor. The man then picked up a fire extinguisher and burst into a doctor’s office, spraying both the medical professional and their patient, who was being examined following chest and back pain. The attacker then pressed an alarm button and fled the office in the ensuing confusion.
Making his way back into the waiting room, the man also sprayed those there while shouting he had a right to medical attention. The centre’s security guards managed to stop him and detained him until police arrived. Both the doctor and his patient complained of itchy skin and eyes after exposure to the extinguisher’s toxic foam.
The SMM has condemned the attack, stating any abuse, either physical or verbal, against medical professionals will not be tolerated, while reminding members the union provides legal assistance if necessary.
A spokesperson for the SMM said, “these cases must be reported. There are more and more cases of patients visiting health centres and hospitals who are aware of their rights but not of their duties and one of the main ones is to respect the work doctors to.”