Man attacks A&E with two hammers over his long wait
A man has been detained after wielding two hammers in the emergency department of Naas General Hospital and smashing a number of doors and windows in front of terrified children.
It is understood that the attacker became "irritated" due to having to wait so long to be treated and returned with two hammers.
The incident happened at Naas General Hospital in Co Kildare on Saturday shortly after 11pm.
A witness said that the man, believed to be in his 30s, left the crowded A&E department after complaining about the wait.
He returned a few moments later, carrying two hammers, threatened staff and smashed a number of windows and a glass door before fleeing the scene in his car.
"There were children present and they were cowering under chairs in fear," the witness said.
It is understood that some 20 people were waiting in A&E when the attack took place.
"People were hiding wherever they could once the man started smashing things up.
"There were children and adults hiding under chairs, locking themselves in the bathroom and even trying to get behind the vending machines.
"No one knew where to look because they didn't want to catch the man's eye."
The frenzied attack ended after about two minutes, the witness added.
Following the incident, gardaí confirmed that they were investigating a possible "incident of criminal damage that occurred at the hospital over the weekend.
"No arrests have been made but we are aware of the individual," they said.
A local source said that the man involved with attack on the emergency department was now being held in a psychiatric ward.
In a statement, Naas General Hospital said it "regretted" any distress the incident might have caused patients.
"This matter is being investigated by the gardaí. We have no further comment to make regarding it," said a spokeswoman.
The emergency department at Naas General Hospital is among several that could be facing the chop over the next 12 months.
A leaked report by the Department of Health's Trauma Steering Group named nine hospitals where A&E wards could be closed, with Naas General among them.