A family feud ended with a pitched battle between rival relatives in the main entrance hall to a hospital, a court heard.
As a female relative lay fighting for her life in the intensive care unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital (right), male relatives fought each other.
Doctors and nurses fled the area and frightened members of the public took shelter in the lobby’s Costa Coffee outlet where staff pulled down metal shutters.
Before Blackpool Magistrates Court were six men from Burnley who all pleaded guilty to affray on May 9 last year.
Presiding magistrate Stuart Gay told the six: “This offence was disgraceful. There were children present and adults already emotionally upset from seeing sick friends and relatives.
“You disrupted the work of the hospital staff and put people in fear.”
They were student Saif Ahmed, 19, of Barden Lane; mortgage advisor Didar Bakhat, 47, of Murray Street; sales worker Sikandar Bakhat, 39, of Cardinal Street; student Zohaib Bakhat, 20, of Murray Street; taxi driver Irfan Ahmed, 45, of Barden Lane and shop assistant Adib Tahir, 26, of Cardinal Street.
Tracey Yates, prosecuting, said: “At about 8.30pm a group of men entered the main entrance to the hospital. One of them entered the hospital waving two fingers in the air and hopping around.
“The men ran up an escalator and a huge fight broke out between them and another group of relatives who had been sitting in a waiting area.
“Witnesses said women were screaming as the men kicked and punched their victim. The witnesses also described how the victim was placed in a headlock and punched. Doctors and nurses ran from the scene as did members of public visiting the hospital.”
Magistrates were told that all the men involved were extended family relatives of a woman being treated in intensive care.
They had been told by other relatives they were not welcome as visitors even though they wanted to pay their last respects to a woman they believed was on her death-bed.
The six knew that members of the family who did not want them there were already at the hospital and when they saw them ran towards them shouting “Come on lets have it on.”
The six left the hospital in two people carriers but the vehicles were halted on the outskirts of the resort and they were arrested.
The prosecutor said the six had picked on one man in particular they believed was behind trying to ban them from seeing their sick relative.
Mark Williams, defending all six, said: “They accept that a hospital was the worst place to do what they did. They did not go there to cause trouble but there had been problems in the family. However they did believe they would be allowed to visit the lady.Six people made a serious error of judgement that day.”
All six were given an eight week jail term suspended for a year. They must each do 200 hours unpaid work and each pay £200 costs.