A paramedic has shared an emotional video explaining how a patient she was treating spat on her in a lockdown assault that left her feeling 'contaminated, broken and defeated'.
Tracy Higginbottom was spat on while taking a young woman to hospital in an ambulance during a night shift in North Cornwall.
Ms Higginbottom, who has been a health worker for more than 20 years, took a month off work to recover after the attack, but decided not to press charges against the offender.
In a powerful six-minute clip, in which Tracy can be seen holding back tears, she speaks of the impact it had on her as well as her fear of returning to work and potentially passing on coronavirus to a colleague or patient.
She said: 'Violence and aggression appear to be escalating, and is something we have to deal with as a part of our job. But I've never experienced anything quite like this.
'The patient had taken drugs and consumed alcohol in the community. She was out of control and vulnerable. We have a duty of care, and I was genuinely concerned for her welfare. So I decided she needed to go to hospital, even though it was an hour and a quarter away.
Tracy Higginbottom was spat on while taking a young woman to hospital in an ambulance during a night shift in North Cornwall
'It really kicked-off in the ambulance. She was swearing, kicking and spitting everywhere. It took two of us to hold the patient down to prevent her coming to harm and to prevent her damaging the ambulance.
'Afterwards I felt very distressed and traumatised. So I took some time out, because you need to be in the right frame of mind in my role.
'Now I'm back at work with support. I was so determined not to allow this horrible experience stop me doing the job I love and from being a part of my wonderful green family.'
The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) said it has seen more than 100 staff members physically assaulted while on duty by members of the public since lockdown was imposed.
Executive Director of Quality and Clinical Care, Jenny Winslade, said: 'We praise Tracy for her bravery and courage in speaking