Sukhbir Singh Seehra in national bravery awards

Queensland-based Seehra receives Australian Bravery accolade for warding off bomb scare at hospital

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Sukhbir Singh Seehra of Queensland is among 26 nationwide recipients in this year’s Australian Bravery Decorations, announced last month.

Recognised for his actions during a bomb threat at a hospital in Herston, Queensland three years ago, Seehra won a ‘Commendation for Brave Conduct’.

The incident occurred at the Psychiatric Emergency Centre of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital where Seehra is a registered nurse. 

“I was working in the morning shift where this consumer [the patient in question] came to the hospital requesting inputs on his mental health, as he had been going through a crisis,” Seehra told Indian Link.

“After the mental health assessment , he was asked to wait for a further review. I noticed he was displaying agitated and aggressive behaviour. I overheard him saying to a co-consumer [another patient] that he was going to ‘blast this place’. His actions made me highly concerned as he lifted the front of his shirt and grabbed an explosive-like device wrapped around his torso.”

Seehra immediately alerted the security personnel and phoned triple-zero.

Three security officers stationed around leapt in and grabbed the patient. Seehra rushed in too and assisted in restraining him. Police arrived shortly afterwards and took control of the situation.

Seehra said that all the staff members were shaken up despite security personnel being stationed in the department. Post the traumatic incident, Seehra and his colleagues were provided appropriate support in order to help them cope with what had transpired.

“I felt relieved that the incident ended with everyone safe,” Seehra recalled. “I feel proud as to how I managed the situation. I was able to generate learning outcomes for the staff in relation to how to deal with serious situations of this nature.”

Currently a Mango Hill resident, Seehra arrived in Australia in 2007 from Punjab, India.

“I studied for a Bachelors degree in Nursing at the Central Queensland University,” he said. “My placements in mental health really drew my interest in this field.”

When he finished uni in 2014, he started work at the Rockhampton Base Hospital’s Mental Health Inpatient Unit. He then moved to Brisbane in 2017 to join the Mental Health Unit at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

“At the Psychiatric Emergency Centre I have been through multiple encounters of dealing with aggressive, agitated and drug-affected patients,” he mentioned.

The incident with the bomb scare has been recounted a few times at work as well as outside of it.

“It’s something to share with friends, family and my kids, to shed light on what we frontline healthcare workers deal with on daily basis,” Sukhbir Singh Seehra noted.

The Australian Bravery Decorations recognise acts of bravery where people selflessly put themselves in jeopardy to protect the lives or property of others.

READ ALSO: Queen’s Birthday Honour for psychiatrist Dr Sathya Rao 

Manu Prakaash
Manu Prakaash
Manu is the founder of a strategic communications and public affairs consultancy and a journalist, based out of Canberra. His professional experience is complemented by his Masters in International Relations and an MBA. Manu's research and writing interests include India-Australia relations, international affairs, politics, public policy, international education, climate change, and strategic best practices in business and leadership. On the weekends, you'll find Manu hiking in and driving around, some of Canberra's many national parks, along with his family.

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