Rise in violence following SOO: Ambulance

The State of Origin is followed by many in Papua New Guinea, but over the years, the St John Ambulance has seen an increase in violence relating to the event when responding to emergencies in the National Capital District.

Two deaths were reported on Wednesday night in Port Moresby.

The consumption of alcohol and violence coinciding with the State of Origin has increased. The decider matches are usually the highest.

“We see this time and time again, and this year, this final games seems to have consistently been the worst with the amount of alcohol and violence that we see consumed,” said CEO of St John Ambulance PNG, Matt Cannon.

The St John Ambulance responded to 13 incidents between Wednesday 6pm and Thursday 6am.

“Many of which were patients inflicted with knife injuries. We’re aware of at least one person that died as a result…It seems to be a correlation between alcohol and these violence.”

The Port Moresby General Hospital’s emergency department also reported an increase in number of trauma cases from State of Origin related violence.

Chief of Emergency Service, Dr Sam Yockopua, said: “Trauma is injuries inflicted as a result of personal violence or other accident related.”

In the past, a fee of K50 was charged for State of Origin related injuries at the emergency as a deterrence. This was later removed.

“We are struggling with limited resources and whatever available resources we should be using on genuine patients who are sick and injured from genuine causes. And alcohol and State of Origin related are completely preventable and unnecessary,” stressed Dr Yockopua.

The cost of treating malaria has been found to be lower than trauma.

(From left: St John Director Operations, Rigona Rita, CEO St John Ambulance PNG, Matt Cannon, NCD Metropolitan Superintendent, Perou N’Dranou and Chief of Emergency Service, Dr Sam Yockopua)

Sally Pokiton