A PATIENT who was abusive about his doctor’s religion in front of other patients and spat blood at a hospital security officer has been jailed for 16 months.

Joe Edgar has mental health difficulties and had “chiselled” a cross in his face so that he would be taken for medical treatment, said his solicitor advocate Graham Parkin.

In a victim personal statement, the doctor said Edgar’s behaviour had made him feel degraded, distressed and disgusted as it had taken place in the accident and emergency department in front of other patients and hospital staff.

“Those who work in our hospitals are entitled to and will receive the protection of these courts,” the Honorary Recorder of York, Judge Paul Batty QC, told Edgar at York Crown Court.

“It is the very least these courts can do for those who perform such a vital public service.”

He jailed Edgar, 50, for 12 months for religiously aggravated abusive and aggressive behaviour towards the doctor and assaulting the security officer, plus four months from a previous prison sentence that had been suspended on condition Edgar kept out of trouble.

Austin Newman, prosecuting, said while he was being seen in accident and emergency at Scarborough Hospital, Edgar repeatedly asked aggressive questions about his doctor’s religion.

“The doctor said he wouldn’t talk about religion and the only important matter was he was a doctor and the defendant was the patient,” said Mr Newman.

The doctor continued to treat him while ignoring the questions, but Edgar finally shouted “Go back to ….Iraq”.

The doctor, who was a Muslim from Pakistan, was so concerned for his safety he called for a hospital security officer.

Edgar bit his lip until it bled and then spat at the officer twice. He also claimed he had a hand grenade and a knife.

He was on a suspended prison sentence at the time for firing an air rifle in the street and hitting a nearby motorcyclist on his helmet.

Edgar, of Whitby, pleaded guilty to all offences. Mr Parkin said Edgar had multiple personality disorders and was on psychiatric medication. But alcohol interacted with the drugs badly, and he had been drinking before the offences.

After he had been arrested, he had banged his head on the police van side and had been taken back to the hospital. The same doctor had treated him and Edgar had not caused any problems.