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Man arrested after surgeon hit in coward punch attack

The Australian

Greg Brown

 June 1, 2017

CCTV image of suspect police believe was behind attack on staff member at Box Hill Hospital. Picture: Victoria Police

The Australian June 1, 2017

A man has been arrested after a Melbourne surgeon was bashed at the hospital he worked at and left fighting for his life.

Media outlets named heart surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann as the victim of the one punch assault at Box Hill Hospital.

A 22-year-old Mill Park man has been charged with intentionally causing injury and is due to face court later this morning.

An argument broke out between the surgeon and a man in the hospital foyer when he was hit and fell to the floor.

Police believe the offender was visiting a patient at the hospital when the attack happened.

An Eastern Health spokeswoman said the man’s family has requested privacy after the “terrible incident”.

The Australian Medical Association condemned the attack, saying violence has become a common occurrence in hospitals.

“You should be able to turn up to work and not be abused, threatened or assaulted,” president of AMA Victoria Lorraine Baker said in a statement

Surgeon hit after smoking gibe

The victim in his 40s was allegedly attacked because he voiced concern that people were smoking near the front doors of the Box Hill Hospital, Melbourne radio station 3AW reported.

Surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann. Picture: Channel 7
Surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann. Picture: Channel 7

The victim was cardiac and heart surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann, who is married with children, Channel 7 reported.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ian Shepherd would not confirm the name of the victim or the nature of the initial confrontation.

“We haven’t spoken to the victim yet he is not in a condition to speak to so we don’t know the exact nature of that conversation. But the indication is that is the type of conversation they were having, something in relation his behaviour or smoking or something of that nature,” Mr Shepherd said.

“Our victim is still in a very serious condition and we’ve seen plenty of these in the past where people die.”

The victim is reportedly married with children. Picture: Channel 7The victim is reportedly married with children. Picture: Channel 7

A spokesman for Victoria’s Eastern Health would also not confirm the identity of the victim.

“This is a terrible incident and we have been in contact with the staff member’s family. They have requested privacy at this time, the spokeswoman said.

The man was taken to Melbourne’s The Alfred hospital in a critical condition.

Victoria Police said the attack happened at about 7.20pm yesterday. Police are trying to identify the offender, who is believed to be a caucasian man aged between 20 and 30.

Police said he was wearing black jacket, pants and a cap at the time of the attack.

Victorian police wish to speak to these people in relation to the Box Hill Hospital assault

Victorian police wish to speak to these people in relation to the Box Hill Hospital assault

“It is believed a man was walking into the Arnold Street premises about 7.20pm when he became involved in a verbal dispute with a male standing in the foyer,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

“The second man then hit the man to the head causing him to fall to the ground and fled the scene.”

Box Hill Hospital, where a surgeon is fighting for his life after being punched. Picture: Steve Tanner