Netcare suspends two paramedics

By Drum Digital
13 November 2014

Netcare 911 has suspended two paramedics for leaving the scene of an alleged racist road-rage accident in Johannesburg.

Netcare 911 has suspended two paramedics for leaving the scene of an alleged racist road-rage accident in Johannesburg, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

"The two paramedics who left the scene of a road-rage incident on Saturday afternoon were suspended from duty after management was given access by The Star to a video filmed at the scene by a member of the public," said Netcare managing director Noeleen Phillipson.

"It is against our company protocols and values for paramedics to prematurely leave the scene of an incident unless there is a very good reason for them to do so."

Netcare declined to comment on racism allegations levelled against the paramedics, or say if they would face a disciplinary hearing.

It was also not clear why they were suspended for leaving the scene, rather than for not attending to the injured man.

The Star reported earlier that the two employees attended a scene where a white motorist had allegedly attacked a black motorist with an axe on the N1 near the Beyers Naude off-ramp.

The white paramedics were reportedly accused of attending to the uninjured white attacker, while not checking on the injured black victim, who was bleeding from axe wounds on his head.

Phillipson would not comment on this allegation, but said Netcare did not discriminate against anyone.

"We wish to give the assurance that Netcare 911 does not discriminate against individuals on any basis," she said.

"This is evidenced by the fact that in the past year alone Netcare 911 has assisted close on 6000 indigent patients."

The Star reported that before Netcare watched the video footage it claimed the paramedics left the scene because a crowd threatened them.

The newspaper quoted Phillipson as confirming that the victim received medical attention.

"In fact, the senior paramedic attended to the victim with the head and upper-arm injury, and her junior colleague rendered assistance to the second individual," Phillipson reportedly said.

According to the newspaper, a bystander took a video clip at the scene and tried to give it to Netcare to watch. It reportedly showed that the paramedics did not attend to the victim.

The Star claimed Netcare's general manager Shalen Ramduth failed to arrive for a meeting to obtain the video.

The newspaper then sent the footage to Netcare. Less than an hour after sending the footage the two paramedics were suspended, it was reported.

Phillipson said she could not comment on these allegations.

"A full investigation is underway and we will take appropriate action once the investigation has been concluded," she said.

-SAPA

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