A woman who bit the hand of a doctor who was treating her in the Emergency Department of Sligo University Hospital has been given a 2twomonth prison sentence.
In sentencing Nicole Chambers (24) with an address in Collooney at Thursday's sitting of Sligo District Court, Judge Kevin Kilrane said the seriousness of the charge of biting a doctor during the course of treatment would normally attract nine months' imprisonment.
Chambers admitted a charge of assault causing harm to Dr Richard Herridge who had been treating her in Sligo University Hospital's Emergency Department on Saturday, April 11th.
She further admitted to committing criminal damage and engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour at the hospital.
Judge Kilrane asked the 24-year-old how she is doing in prison where she was on remand on the charges and she replied that she was doing a lot better.
The judge enquired if she is having more difficulties in prison than she was having outside and she responded that she missed her family.
She said however that she had been off drugs and that it had been better for her.
Judge Kilrane asked the defendant if she has been taking part in a treatment programme and she said she was.
Chambers then indicated she can't do it for much longer as something 'popped up medically'.
Judge Kilrane asked how beneficial the programme was and Chambers said she was doing very well, eating properly etc.
She then asked the judge if she could tell him what the medical matter that had arisen was and he replied that she could, if it didn't embarrass her.
She asked if it was okay to write it on a piece of paper which was then handed into Judge Kilrane.
After reading what was on the note, he asked Chambers if she required medical intervention and she said no.
She continued that she now had reason to take steps that she needed to take for the future.
Defending solicitor Mr Tom MacSharry told the judge that his client was showing a level of maturity now.
He added that she had something to look forward to and was taking positive steps.
The defendant then apologised in court for what she did.
"I would like to take the opportunity to apologise to Dr Herridge and all the frontline services, the gardaí, ambulance personnel, the Coast Guard, my family and friends," she added.
Judge Kilrane described the defendant as being someone who persistently misbehaved over the course of a number of years.
He said that in respect of the existing charges, the defendant had persistently misbehaved over a period of two years, with several Public Order, assault on two personnel in the hospital and criminal damage.
He said these charges were very serious in nature, especially when it comes to medical personnel.
He said the seriousness of the charges needed a prison sentence.
The judge said that he didn't need a Probation Report for sentencing.
For the assault on Dr Herridge at the Emergency Department of Sligo University Hospital on April 11th 2020, he convicted Chambers and sentenced her to two months in prison.
On the threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour charge, he convicted her and took it into consideration.
He convicted and sentenced her to two months in prison concurrent for criminal damage.
On a Public Order charge relating to September 26th 2019 he convicted the defendant and took the charge into consideration.
Also on the same date for an assault charge, he convicted Chambers and imposed two months in prison.
For a further assault charge on May 29th 2019 at the Emergency Department of Sligo University Hospital he convicted and imposed a two months term to run concurrently.
Mr MacSharry asked the judge if it was possible to back date the sentence to when the defendant was taken into custody.
The judge replied that he would not due to the seriousness of the charge.
He said that biting a doctor during the course of treatment would normally attract a nine month term of imprisonment.