Senior management at Dublin's Beaumont Hospital say they are "horrified" over the callous theft of car parts from the staff car park used by frontline workers.
In the latest incident this week, a young midwife said she went to collect her car, only to find a young man with a car jack and knife attempting to steal the catalytic converter.
The recently-qualified midwife said she had lent her car to a friend who works at the hospital and caught the culprit red-handed - even though he had claimed that the car was his.
The suspect, aged around 25, had partially removed the converter when she confronted him and he ran into an awaiting Ford Focus and drove off.
She told RTE's Liveline programme yesterday that the cost to replace the converter would be more than the car is worth.
The crime was particularly loathsome, given the enormous efforts being made by frontline hospital staff during the pandemic.
"It's just absolutely scandalous to sink to that level, when there are people who are working so hard to protect and mind each other," she said.
"It's really shocking and it really makes you question what humanity has come to at this moment."
Another caller - who is familiar with car parts - said the converters are being stolen in the same way that copper is targeted, as the components can fetch a few hundred euro through scrap dealers.
"It's a nasty, mean, small-minded little crime," he said.
Dr Laura Durcan, the hospital's medical director, said thieves are targeting older cars driven mostly by young interns.
"We've had multiple stories of catching these people in the act," she said.
A spokesperson for the hospital said it is aware of three such incidents and has stepped up security.