Police called to prevent riot in children’s clinic

Police called to prevent riot in children's clinic
File photo: APA/Gindl
Police had to be called to a children’s clinic at a hospital in Vienna on Sunday after fights broke out among families who had been waiting for 16 hours with their sick children to see a doctor.

Witnesses said that children were screaming and running around, parents were arguing, and staff were completely overwhelmed at the clinic in the Donauspital in the 22nd district.

An outbreak of cold and influenza viruses in Austria has seen many children fall ill, with dangerously high temperatures.

One couple, Mario and Verena H., told the Krone newspaper that their 15-month-old daughter had a temperature of more than 41C on Sunday and had only recently recovered from a bad cold, so they called an ambulance to take her to the Donauspital.

They said that when they arrived they were greeted by chaotic scenes. “It was so full that there were no empty chairs in the waiting room, and the receptionist told us that it was going to take longer than usual until we could see a doctor.”

They ended up waiting nine hours before their daughter was seen by a doctor. “Everybody was irritated and the children were crying and screaming,” Mario said.

As the atmosphere became tense and strained some parents decided it was time to call the police. “Police officers remained on the scene until the situation had calmed down,” police spokesman Roman Hahslinger confirmed.

A spokesman from the hospital said that “due to the ‘flu outbreak we had 450 patients in the children’s clinic over the weekend rather than the usual 50.” “All our doctors were on duty but regrettably we still couldn’t prevent the long waiting times.”