A blood-soaked drunk who brought accident and emergency to a standstill will spend the next six months in detention.
The Perth Royal Infirmary department had to be abandoned on a busy Friday night and “deep cleaned” after Ian Merchant daubed windows, doors, treatment areas and tables with red smears.
He was almost insensible with alcohol after a boozy night out for his brother’s birthday and seemed almost unaware that he was bleeding heavily from badly cut hands.
The 20-year-old caused mayhem in the department for more than 15 minutes and at one point barged into the adjacent out-of-hours department to cause more chaos.
Merchant had appeared at A&E shortly before 10am, with witnesses describing him as being “covered in blood”.
He appeared to be “unaware where the blood was coming from” but began to rub his hands over the reception desk, smearing blood all over it.
When worried nurses asked him to stop, he began to run around the reception area waving his hands and spraying blood all around him.
He then tried to enter another department, smearing blood over the doors, windows and walls, before he allowed himself to be ushered outside by hospital porters.
A duty doctor was treating him for his injuries when police officers arrived to take him into custody.
The three nurses on duty at the time had to deal with the mess and disturbance.
The department had to be deep cleaned, causing all manner of disruption within the hospital.
One witness told police officers: “He disturbed the whole department. His blood was everywhere.
“Thankfully the porters managed to usher him out the ambulance door.”
Merchant has already amassed a lengthy criminal record, with the vast majority of offences linked to his troubles with alcohol.
He told the court drink had also been at the root of this latest incident, as he’d drunk to excess at his brother’s birthday party.
At some point during the evening he said it was clear he had cut his fingers but had no idea how it had happened, and had similarly little recollection of what happened thereafter.
He described himself as “embarrassed” by what had occurred at the hospital and said he understood the difficulty he had caused staff.
Nonetheless, he appealed to the court to consider an alternative to custody, telling Sheriff Lindsay Foulis he was working hard to remain free from alcohol with the help of Anchor House and the YMCA.
The sheriff, however, told him he was losing his liberty, saying: “This sort of disruptive behaviour is far too common in accident and emergency and is now occurring on hospital wards too. It really cannot go on.
“There is no excuse put forward for your actions other than that you had far too much to drink, you went to A&E and you caused a nuisance and disruption.”
Merchant, of Crieff Road in Perth, admitted committing a breach of the peace at Perth Royal Infirmary on August 26 last year.