Soldier who served in Afghanistan says he felt safer in war zone than working in Aussie hospital

Decorated soldier who did four tours overseas says he felt safer in war zone than working security in Australian hospitals – and warns someone will die at the hands of violent patients

  • Ex-Defence soldier said he felt safer in war zone than as hospital security guard 
  • Dean Douglass resigned after countless assaults on the job at Brisbane hospital
  • Said it was a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ someone dies at an Australian health facility
  • Claimed he had 75 times more physical incidents than working as hotel bouncer

A veteran soldier who served in Afghanistan has said he felt safer fighting in a war zone than working as a security guard in an Australian hospital.

Former frontline soldier Dean Douglass took up a job at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in 2016 but said he was repeatedly attacked by violent patients.

As well as regularly being punched and kicked at work, he was forced to disarm a mentally unwell patient last year who threatened to blow up the hospital with a fake bomb.

Mr Douglass – who has since resigned over the mental toll of his job with Queensland’s health authority – compared Australian hospitals to the ‘Wild West’.

Veteran Defence soldier Dean Douglass (right) has claimed he felt safer fighting in a war zone than working as a security guard in an Australian hospital

The ex-soldier said someone could die unless action was taken to make hospitals safer.

‘I have never felt more unsafe in my life than I did working while I was with Queensland Health,’ he said.

He said for every physical altercation he experienced while working in hotel security, he would have had 75 working in a hospital.

New figures show physical and verbal attacks increased by 55 per cent in Queensland hospitals over the past three years, the Sunday Mail reported.

A study released earlier this year also found 40 per cent of attacks at the Royal Melbourne Hospital on its staff were carried out by patients high on illicit drugs.

Mr Douglass (right) said someone could die unless action was taken to make hospitals safer

Mr Douglass (right) said someone could die unless action was taken to make hospitals safer

Mr Douglass – who served four tours overseas with the Australian Army – called for better training for security guards in hospitals, saying the on-the-job support he received was the worst he had ever had.

‘There were only two days that were put aside for training and it was the absolute worst training I’ve ever experienced in my entire life,’ he said.

‘It’s not a matter of if but when someone is going to get killed at the hospital in that role, I 100 per cent, hand on my heart, believe that.’

He also called for police officers to be assigned to emergency departments to deal with threatening patients and more qualification requirements for hospital security roles.

Pictured: A still image from footage taken at Royal Melbourne Hospital showing patients high on illicit drugs smashing chairs into walls

Pictured: A still image from footage taken at Royal Melbourne Hospital showing patients high on illicit drugs smashing chairs into walls

Medical staff pictured intervening to stop an out-of-control patient from wreaking further havoc

Medical staff pictured intervening to stop an out-of-control patient from wreaking further havoc

In addition, Mr Douglass wants security staff to be allowed to search patients for weapons – a change in protocol that he believes could have prevented his fake bomb incident.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Queensland Health for comment.  

His shocking claims come as health workers in Queensland are issued with body cameras to help them deal with increasing patient violence.

The changes follow a widespread security review by state health officials in 2016 which found substance abuse, mental illness and dementia were all key causes of violence in health facilities.

The president of the Queensland Nurses’ Union Beth Mohle said violent attacks in hospitals had become ‘a wicked problem’.

In February, shocking CCTV footage taken in Victorian hospitals emerged showing patients high on ice, heroin and cannabis punching and kicking nurses. 

In one instance, terrified staff were confronted by a patient brandishing a machete.

Other clips showed patients smashing chairs into glass walls, and climbing through protective barriers to break computers. 

Researcher Professor Johnathon Knott said the horrific footage is indicative of the level of violence ice addicts engage in in the community.

‘Our wards now have some really damaged and troubled individuals,’ he told Nine News.

‘We have at least 10 code greys a day.’



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