A trainee paramedic attacked with a baseball bat on a 999 call-out could owe his life to his quick-thinking crew mate.
The 26-year-old, who suffered a fractured skull, was dragged into the ambulance by his partner and driven off at high speed to hospital in Preston.
And her rapid response may have prevented the assault becoming a fatality, according to a senior official of the North West Ambulance Service.
“The attack launched on this individual could have easily have had a fatal outcome and I must offer my praise to his crewmate who acted quickly in getting her colleague out of danger and into hospital,” said Derek Cartwright, director of emergency service.
The assault happened as the crew attended a 999 call in Hillbrook Road, Leyland, at around 11.20pm on Sunday. They found a woman having a panic attack and, as the trainee paramedic left the house to get equipment, he was hit over the head with what police believe was a baseball bat.
The injured man’s partner raced to his assistance and, despite being in danger herself, managed to get him into the vehicle before making a dash to hospital. Police say the attacker then fled the scene.
Mr Cartwright said: “This member of staff goes to work to help people in need and to end up with a fractured skull is abhorrent. It is likely that he will not be able to return to work for some time.
“It is a sad fact that we are becoming almost used to hearing of our staff being either verbally or physically assaulted. But this is one of the worst cases I have come across in my 30 years’ service.”
Chief Inspector Ian Whitehead said: “An investigation is now under way. If anybody has any information which they think can assist our inquiry then I would urge them to contact police.”
Neil Cosgrove, a rapid response paramedic based in Leyland and a senior branch steward for union Unite, said: “This is a very disturbing incident and our thoughts and best wishes are with the individual who has been assaulted.
“When paramedics are going out there to do a job, to be confronted and assaulted in this way is totally unacceptable.
“It is a sad state of affairs when we are trying to help people.”
l A 19-year-old man from Leyland was arrested yesterday and was last night in custody on suspicion of assault causing actual bodily harm.