A 34-year-old woman who shouted obscenities and spat on a doctor who was treating a five-year-old child in Altnagelvin Hospital has been refused bail.

Elizabeth Flanagan of Abercorn Road appeared before Derry Magistrates Court charged with assaulting a doctor and possessing cannabis on Monday night, November 13, 2017.

Flanagan was on bail for other matters and a police officer in court said that this had been her third breach of bail within five to six weeks.

The police officer outlined the details of the offences in court. He said that at around 9pm on Monday night past police were called to a disturbance at Altnagelvin Hospital’s Out of Hours Clinic.

Flanagan had been sent from the A&E Department to the Out of Hours Clinic at around 8.15pm. She asked a doctor when she was going to be seen and he told her he was currently looking after two patients.

Flanagan then began ‘shouting obscenities’ at the doctor and he told her to stop as he was dealing with a five-year-old child. However, she refused to stop shouting and the doctor contacted security to come and deal with her. When the doctor came out again to get his next patient, Flanagan began shouting again at spat on the doctor.

Police arrived and arrested Flanagan and took her to Strand Road Police Station where she was searched and found to be in possession of cannabis.

The officer said that each breach she had committed had been accompanied with further offending and that she had already been before the court a ‘numerous times’ and had been ‘warned numerous times’. He added that Flanagan’s addiction to cannabis leads to further offending and that police objected to her release on bail for fear of further offending and breaching bail by using drugs.

The defence solicitor said that Flanagan was addicted to cannabis and receiving treatment for mental health issues as she was believed to have a ‘borderline personality disorder’.

He added that Flanagan had only been before the court in recent months for the first time and gone into a ‘downward spiral’. The defence asked that she be given ‘one last chance’ and that she was ‘embarrassed’ about what had taken place in the hospital.

District Judge Barney McElholm said: “She should be embarrassed; her behaviour was disgraceful, shouting obscenities in front of a five-year-old then spitting on a doctor. Medical staff have to be protected and this is one breach too far.

“If I could send her into an institution where she would remain and get treatment I would but we don’t have such an institution.

“I’m not saying that this would be the solution, a message has to go out that you cannot attack doctors and you cannot treat medical staff like this and get away with it.”

Bail was refused on the current offences and revoked on earlier matters. Flanagan was remanded in custody to appear back before the court again on December 7.

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