Published: 13/03/2018 10:27 - Updated: 15/03/2018 10:56

Patient shouted and swore at Raigmore Hospital staff to amputate leg

Written byCourt Reporter


Raigmore Hospital in Inverness
Raigmore Hospital in Inverness
A patient shouted and swore at staff in the high dependency unit at Raigmore Hospital because he wanted them to amputate his leg.


Gareth Benbow was being treated in the unit having overdosed on drugs.

But when he came round he became abusive to staff demanding they amputate his leg because of the pain.

Inverness Sheriff Court heard evidence from two senior nurses on the ward who told Sheriff David Sutherland work in the unit had come to a standstill because of Benbow’s conduct.

Benbow (37) of Gilbert Street in Inverness, appeared in court on crutches. At one stage Sheriff David Sutherland adjourned so his solicitor could speak to him about his conduct in the dock interrupting one of the witnesses.

He had denied behaving in a threatening and abusive manner and shouting and swearing at staff on May 5 last year and told the court he had complained to the General Medical Council about his years of treatment following a compound fracture of his leg when he fell off a ladder.

Former staff nurse at the unit, Mrs Victoria Hogg (58), told the court Benbow was one of four patients in the unit and he was well known to staff having been a regular patient over the years.

Usually the rapport between Benbow and staff she said was good but on the morning of May 5 he started shouting and getting out of bed demanding medication.

“He was saying nobody cared and he was suicidal.” She said she told him to settle down but he persisted.

“You felt anxious because there were other very sick people there and they were distressed.”

Questioned by depute fiscal Ross Carvel Mrs Hogg said she was unable to calm Benbow down.

She said Benbow had been taken to the unit the previous day because he had taken an overdose of pills and it wasn’t until the morning when she came on shift he was awake and orientated.

“He was looking for medication and the doctor wasn’t giving him any because he was not on any prescription from his GP.” She said a ward round by doctors had to be stopped because of his conduct.

Eventually he left the ward then about 20 minutes later she picked up a phone call and it was Benbow.

“He said: ‘I hope your happy. I’ve taken another 200 tablets. He said it twice’.”

Police later went to check he was OK and he was.

Senior Staff Nurse Ruth Coyne (46) said she became aware of the shouting and swearing.

“I went to see what was happening. He was standing at reception and said he was going to leave but he still had a cannula (a drip) in his arm. I said we would have to remove it and he refused.”

When Benbow left the ward she phoned security and the police.

She said she thought Benbow was unhappy with his treatment and it was to do with his medication which had to be prescribed by his GP.

She said he had been in the ward several times over the years.

Benbow in his evidence said in 2011 he suffered a compound fracture of his leg but he had broken it four times before that.

He said he couldn’t remember going to hospital on May 4 because he had overdosed ‘after a doctor called him a liar’.

“I woke up in high dependency with a tube down my nose and throat screaming in pain.”

Benbow said he reckoned he had been in Ward 6a 600 times and claimed the staff got mad that morning because he phoned the General Medical Council to complained about his treatment.

He remembered being asked about the cannula but said he had taken it out and left it on his bed.

“They were taking the p... out of me.” He said when he told staff he was going to commit suicide they laughed at him and told him to ‘do it’.

“I wanted my leg amputated because I was in pain and suicidal and they were all laughing at me.”

He said he was told they had spoken to his GP and were not getting involved.

He claimed since he had never sworn in 6a.

Sheriff Sutherland found him guilty and called for psychiatric and background reports before Benbow is sentenced on April 9.
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