“I’ve been kicked, hit, spat, scratched, attacked,” Dean Douglass told 9News.
Images from the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital show a nurse trying to treat a patient, before she is kicked, falls to the ground and breaks her leg.
And Douglass’s experience on the front lines of the state’s healthcare system has reportedly been so devastating that the former soldier says he feels safer in a war zone.
After serving a decade as an infantryman, completing four combat tours, he decided to take a job at Queensland Health in 2016 as a security guard.
“The reason I felt safer in Afghanistan is because the children by my side and the support I had, compared to the hospital, the danger comes in the form of physical violence.
“In the hospital, it’s chaos … fucking chaos.”
There have been more than 12,000 physical and verbal attacks on Queensland hospital staff in the last year.
That compares to nearly 8,000 two years ago.
“One day it will be a real bomb, one day it will be avoidable and someone will have blood on their hands and it will not be me,” Douglass said.
But Douglass says the entire security system in hospitals across the state must change.
The first initiative he is calling for is to introduce police officers on duty into emergency departments at peak times to ease pressure on front-line personnel.
“New legislation can be written to support the safety of the hospital, it is a unique environment and we can be given powers to search and detain,” he said.
Queensland’s shadow Health Minister Ros Bates said there has been a 55 percent increase in assaults in the past three years.
“We need to make sure that we are valuing our front-line personnel and that they are not punching bags,” Ms. Bates told 9News.