Two arrests made as police try to help asthma sufferer

By Amy Shanks

Police were allegedly kicked, bitten and verbally abused while trying to help a woman who had a serious asthma attack in Hastings on Saturday night.

At about 8pm, officers were called to an address on the corner of Kaiapo and Maraekakaho Roads, when a concerned neighbour rang to report a disorder.

They were greeted by an intoxicated group and discovered a woman passed out on the ground after having an asthma attack.

"We administered CPR, but it was deemed that she needed further treatment," Hastings Police Sergeant Neil Baker said.

"There was no ambulance available so we also transported her directly to Hawke's Bay Hospital.

"Subsequent to that there was an arrest made for disorder with one of the other females who was there, during which a police officer was kicked in the leg and bitten on the forearm."

The woman, who was allegedly intoxicated at the time, is due to appear in Hastings District Court on January 7 on charges of disorderly behaviour and assaulting a police officer.

A man was also arrested at the scene.

"They took exception to us administering aid and not the ambulance," he said.

Saturday's incident was only the beginning of what is traditionally a very busy time for police and emergency services.

"I don't think we have seen an unusual increase [for intoxication or violence], but of course there is always going to be an increase over this period," Mr Baker said.

Hawke's Bay Hospital Emergency Department doctor Chris Ellis said tonight will no doubt be hectic for medical staff.

"Traditionally New Years Day in Hawke's Bay is extremely busy and we have extra nursing and medial staff on this year," he said.

"It usually depends what has gone on the night before. Sadly we don't see a lot of moderation in ED.

"Sadly a lot of it is alcohol-related from the night before - broken bones, etc.

"We have had some pretty horrific and bad things happen, as sadly people end up in the ED when they had no intention of going near it. It is also busy from road accidents at this time of year and it's often sad because it is not the time of year to be injured or killed."

He said today's weather may also impact on the busyness of the department.

"When it is a beautiful, fine New Year's Eve we know it's going to be busy, but if it's miserable and wet we know it will be quiet."

The hospital had been "swamped" recently with people turning up for treatment, with Boxing Day the busiest on record.

A number of accident and medical centres open until 8pm in Hastings and Napier, and City Medical at the Napier Health Centre is open 24 hours.

Call 0800 338899 for the location of the nearest accident and medical centre, or HealthLine on 0800 611116 for symptom assessment and general health information.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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