Liverpool Hospital Deals with Case of Security Guard Assault

THE Royal Liverpool University Hospital has launched an investigation after a security guard allegedly threw a disabled dialysis patient to the floor and broke his wrist Police were called after the man staggered to his appointment in agony and the guard has been suspended while the incident is investigated.

Last night, the patient's family said he was still in hospital as doctors fought to control his pain.

Andrew Cowan34, was attending an appointment at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital when he said he was assaulted outside the building by a security guard.

The alleged attack occurred at just after 7am on Friday morning after Mr Cowan, who drives himself to his thriceweekly appointments, arrived at the hospital.

Mr Cowan said he was told to move his car away from an area normally kept clear for ambulances, despite having a badge authorising him to park there.

The patient, from Old Skelmersdale, said he argued with the guard who attacked him, breaking his wrist.

Mr Cowan has been in renal failure since the kidney he had transplanted when he was 17 failed.

For the last eight years he has been forced to spend five hours three times a week at the hospital, where he has become well-known by staff and patients.

Mr Cowan said: "I was so shocked I couldn't believe what happened. It's made me very nervous and I am in agony.

"I am waiting for another operation at the moment and this is the last thing I need.

I already have to attend hospital three days a week which has put my life on hold." Mr Cowan's family said they were furious at the attack at a place where he should have been safe.

His sister Sandra Johnson said: "My brother is a big lad but he's not steady on his feet and it would only take one punch to floor him.

"I'm angry and very upset because he's got enough to cope with without something like this happening.

"It's an absolute disgrace." The family is already coping with the fact Mr Cowan's father is in hospital in Ormskirk with heart problems, said Mrs Johnson.

Mr Cowan's mother, Hilda Cowan, said: "My son is still in a tremendous amount of pain. He's not a thug, he's a young man with chronic health problems whose life is already on hold."

She demanded security at the hospital be tightened up and staff be properly vetted to ensure such an incident did not happen again.

Last night, Ms Ellman said: "There must be a full investigation into the incident, and I will be making representations tothe chief executive of the hospital."

A spokesman from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital said the hospital was shocked by the incident and the security guard involved had been suspended and was facing an internal investigation.

He stressed all their security staff were trained to deal with patients and the public in a non-confrontational manner.

He said: "We were very sorry to have learnt of the incident and I'm sure our investigation will resolve the matter.

"Although the doors of the hospital are ordinarily kept clear, we know Mr Cowan was definitely authorised to park outside the hospital.

"Our security guards are fully aware of the patients' needs and requirements and the area for nonconfrontational behaviour."

A police spokeswoman confirmed a man had been arrested and released on bail pending further inquiries. OPINION: PAGE 12