Man waits 2 hours for ambulance

2009-05-21 00:00

A MAN who had been knocked down by a car opposite Woodlands Primary School yesterday morning lay helplessly on the side of the road for almost two hours because the ambulance service was so overstretched.

Witnesses said Sam Nerow was hit by a car as he got out of his own vehicle. A source, who did not want to be identified, told The Witness that Nerow lay on the side of the road from 7.30 am and received assistance only at 9.30 am after he was taken to Northdale Hospital by a local councillor who was passing by.

The source said that despite calling the ambulance together with some teachers from the school, it never arrived. “I had to give the councillor a blanket so that they would put the man at the back of the bakkie. I am shocked about the service delivery as he could have died,” she said.

Nerow’s brother in-law, Llewellyn Dirks, alleges that on their way to the hospital, they met the ambulance and the driver told them to continue to their destination and he would follow them, which he never did.

“Service delivery is bad. How can they let an injured person lie there helplessly for two hours without getting assistance?” he asked.

A spokesman for the Health Department, Sebe Zwane, said yesterday the Emergency Medical Rescue Services base received a request for an ambulance at 7.40 am yesterday morning for a pedestrian who was allegedly knocked down by a car.

“At the time of the request the district was operational with 14 ambulances, all of which were attending to other cases. Also there was an overwhelming influx of cases that was recorded every hour. The breakdown of cases attended to are as follows: 7 am – 15; 8 am – 12; 9 am – 13; 10 am – 21.”

Zwane said this created a situation where, in some cases, ambulances were not dispatched timeously.

“Although the resources were stretched, the dispatcher did advise the caller of the delay and dispatched an ambulance at 8.58 am.”

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