MEC saves hurt woman

2011-01-04 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo yesterday helped to save the life of a woman who was badly injured in a shooting.

He came to her aid while on his way to the scene of a lightning strike that killed seven people in the Mpumazi area of Eshowe on Sunday afternoon.

Dhlomo and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube were on their way to Mpumazi yesterday when they came across the injured woman. She was being helped by members of the community and a paramedic after neighbours had heard her cries coming from a stream.

In an interview with The Witness yesterday afternoon, Dhlomo, a medical doctor, said he always carries his medical bag and he went to her assistance.

“When I got there she was already unconscious. She was badly injured with a bullet hole that entered from the right side of her face and exited on the left. She had another bullet wound that I suspect had penetrated her lung.

“We immediately put her on a drip and oxygen and stabilised her,” Dhlomo said.

He confirmed that the woman was critically injured and had lost a lot of blood.

“She was covered in mud and blood all over her body. We heard that she had been unattended for about six hours. It was sheer luck she was still alive on our arrival …”

Mfowethu Zungu, district manager of the Health Department in Uthungulu, said the injured woman is believed to be in her thirties. She is from the Ndwedwe area and was apparently visiting her boyfriend.

Zungu said social workers are tracing her relatives while police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Dhlomo helped the injured woman until an ambulance arrived.

Commenting on his hands-on approach, Dhlomo said: “From the days when I was doing my practicals I learnt that a doctor must always help at accidents. I appeal to other senior medical officials to always carry their medical bags so that they can save lives in times of emergencies.”

Dhlomo has previously helped victims he encountered while travelling. Last month he helped victims of a car accident near Melmoth while on his way to Ulundi

Dube and Dhlomo went on to visit the two families — the Cele and Mahaye families — who lost their relatives in the lightning strike.

Dube has dispatched a high-powered team of disaster experts to provide emergency relief to the families.

Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge identified the deceased of the Mahaye family as Velephi Mahaye (60), Aphiliswa (two) and Senamile Nxumalo (three). The four members of the Cele family were Mana Edith Cele (55), Mazotha Cele (37), Lindelani Cele (11) and Samukelisiwe Cele (two).

Two other people were injured in the lightning strike and yesterday a member of the Cele family was in a critical condition in Eshowe Hospital.

The Eshowe incident happened just hours after eight people were killed by lighting in two separate incidents in the O.R. Tambo District of the Eastern Cape.

During her visit, Dube reportedly called on the Minister of Science and Technology to investigate the causes of a recent upsurge in fatal lightning strikes and to help to provide lightning conductors to protect rural communities.

Dube said government would do all it could to help the survivors and to ensure that the deceased are honoured with a dignified burial.

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