Samaritans: Off-duty nurses go extra mile for N3 victim

2012-05-24 00:00

WITH both legs broken after a hit-and-run truck accident, a Dambuza man lay in agony next to the N3 for over four hours until three off-duty nurses came to his rescue.

“The truck knocked me down and I fell. Then it drove over my feet. I remember my head spinning as I was lying there and looked at the truck driving off,” Simon Hlela (46) told The Witness.

He said he had been walking to Raisethorpe from Dambuza to beg for money when he was knocked down between the Liberty Midlands Mall and the Chota Motala interchange at around noon on Tuesday. “I cried out for help for hours. The pain was unbearable.”

Construction workers nearby either did not hear him or ignored his cries for help. The drivers of several other vehicles passing by hooted at him, but none stopped.

“Trucks were hooting at me. I thought they’d hit me again.

“I thought I was going to die. I kept on praying,” said Hlela.

Hlela said the pain in his feet — and with a bone protruding from a calf — was so intense that he could not put his legs down.

This ensured his eventual rescue. Nurses Leona Thomas, Tiny Muir and Bernice McKenzie were driving home at about 4.30 pm when they saw a man with his legs raised in the air at the roadside.

Unable to stop in time, they took the next off-ramp and doubled back to where Hlela lay.

“How do you do sleep at night, knowing that you left someone who needed help unaided?” said Thomas of their decision to turn around.

Muir said said that on examining Hlela, they realised he was seriously injured and immediately called for an ambulance.

Before paramedics arrived, they wrapped his legs in a jersey and a sun shade from their car.

McKenzie said Hlela was in considerable pain, had lost a lot of blood and was thirsty when they got to him.

Hlela underwent surgery in both legs yesterday and is in a stable condition.

“I’ll be forever grateful to these nurses. I’m also glad that the truck didn’t hit my head,” he smiled, as he munched on biscuits and drank juice that the nurses brought him during a visit yesterday.

“I’ll never walk on the freeway again. Once bitten, twice shy,” he said.

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