Friend of dead fisherman sues state

2014-06-12 00:00

PHILLIP Mostert, friend of spear fisherman Ronald Reece who died after being refused care for nearly an hour at King Edward VIII Hospital, is readying to sue the state.

Reece is survived by his mother and a six-year-old son, who remains in the care of Mostert and his family.

Reece found himself in difficulty while spearfishing off Brighton Beach and had to be pulled from the water by lifeguards on Sunday evening.

A concerted and successful effort to revive him by paramedics and lifeguards was mired when nurses and doctors were alleged to have refused care to Reece when he arrived at the state hospital.

According to paramedics, Reece was even denied oxygen before staff at the medical facility caved and began treatment. He died hours later.

Mostert said that he was meeting with his legal team yesterday to explore their options of civil action against the Hospital and the Department of Health.

“He [Reece] has died and left his six-year-old son behind. Who is going to care for him? I am going to make sure that the state knows all about this,” he said.

Mostert said that Reece’s son had been kept away from school.

“I wanted to spare him the trauma of having to make a Father’s Day card for Sunday. We are all barely keeping it together but we are trying to keep him occupied. You can tell that this is weighing on him,” he said.

Reece, who was an IT technician, was born in Zimbabwe.

“He was one of the hardest working guys that I knew and he was loved by everyone. He was my best friend of 20 years, and I watched as the medics and lifeguards worked on him.

“It is disgusting to think that they [doctors and nurses] cared so little about his life. He was breathing on his own and he had a pulse, and they wouldn’t even give him oxygen, that is disgusting,” Mostert said.

The Department of Health, after conceding that an investigation into the incident had been launched, has gone to ground.

Spokespeople have not been accessible for comment, ignoring several written requests for a statement.

RescueCare paramedic Garrith Jamieson, who had been treating Reece, said that the department was trying to effect a cover-up.

“I have lodged formal complaints about this with every conceivable person and I have still yet to hear anything from the department. They are trying to sweep this under the rug and I will not let that happen. I will fight for my patients with everything I have,” he said.

He called on the department to be transparent in their investigation of the matter.

“I am thankful that the press got involved, otherwise I fear this matter would have disappeared from public view altogether.”

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