Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

The medical aftermath of St Patricks Day was similar to that of New Year for Dunedin Hospitals emergency department.
Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen had warned that drunkenness in the student quarter on St Patricks Day was worse than New Years Eve.
It is just a binge-drink day, he said, and hospital figures suggest he was right.
Dr Rich Stephenson, the emergency department (ED) clinical director, said the impact on ED was broadly the same as on New Years Day.
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Whilst it is rare to see a large number of patients as a result of the celebrations, irresponsible drinking can have a significant impact on our staff and other patients.
Drunk patients can require more resources to deal with them and can be abusive, Stephenson said.
This time could be used to treat patients whose illness or injury hasnt been contributed to by the decision to consume alcohol to an extent likely to cause harm, he said.
Scenes from a large St Patrick’s Day party in Dunedin on Butts Rd, 2020.
Police had earlier warned that excessive drinking by the student population could hinder responses by emergency services.
In the most serious incident, which happened just before midnight on Wednesday, three people from North Otago unsuccessfully tried to join a flat party in Dundas St.
The trio a 21-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man and a 26-year-old man then smashed a letterbox, and the older man challenged the flats occupants to a fight.
One person was later taken to Dunedin Hospital, Dinnissen said.
The 19-year-old then drove the trio to Butts Rd, where a large St Patricks Day party was under way.
He swerved the vehicle around partygoers, then stopped and tried to attack a random person with a bottle.
Both men were arrested. The teenager was found to be almost twice the legal drink-driving limit and was later charged.
Dinnissen said the driver was lucky not to kill anyone as his actions had the potential to inflict carnage, given the number of intoxicated pedestrians on the narrow road.
Police kept a close eye on celebrating students at Bracken View on St Patricks Day.
Police were kept busy with alcohol-related incidents throughout the day, including four callouts to the Regent Night n Day, some involving a sought-after early morning delicacy pies.
In one, $13 of stolen items were placed in the jacket of a 49-year-old man who was stopped by security and later trespassed.
At 11.10pm, a 20-year-old man was spotted putting two pies in a bag, then eating one as he waited to pay.
Twenty minutes later, security stopped a 20-year-old man who had stuffed a pie down his pants.
Another man tried to steal a pack of cards from the same dairy, but was also stopped by security, trespassed and fined by the store, Dinnissen said.
Police were also flagged down by members of the public after a drunk 18-year-old man was found convulsing on the grass near the public gardens.
Dinnissen said the man was unable to speak but could make hand signals as he slipped in and out of consciousness.
Officers helped with first aid until St John Ambulance staff arrived.
On Castle St, people were spotted setting a mattress on fire before it was doused by firefighters at about 1.40am on Thursday.
Students party at Bracken View on St Patricks Day. Police reported few issues, despite earlier saying St Patricks Day in Dunedin can be busier than New Years Eve.
Police were also called to an incident where a woman and her friends filmed and abused a man putting out his wheelie bin about 3pm on Wednesday.
The 44-year-old man approached the group and swung at them, but missed. Police reviewed the incident, arrested the man and issued him with a warning.
Two hours later, a 20-year-old driver hit a woman who ran out in front of him on Dundas St.
The man called emergency services, but the woman fled the scene.
The 19-year-old woman later went to Dunedin Hospitals emergency department with minor injuries.