Tshwane denies ambulance death claim

2012-06-07 22:31

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Pretoria - The City of Tshwane denied on Thursday a newspaper report earlier this week that a man died after waiting for nearly 20 hours for an ambulance.

The Pretoria News reported that Mlungisi Dlamini, 25, died in Arcadia, Pretoria, on Tuesday after he waited nearly 20 hours for a state ambulance to take him to hospital.

His brother Sandile Dlamini told the newspaper that he called for an ambulance at 14:45 on Monday, but that it only arrived at about 10:15 the next day.

Had the ambulance arrived sooner, his brother's life might have been saved, he said, adding that, during his wait, he was told that an ambulance was "on the way". Later he was told that none were available.

However, city spokesperson Nomasonto Ndlovu said paramedics who arrived at the scene in Francis Baard street (formerly Schoeman Street) were not allowed to examine Dlamini, apparently because he was sleeping.

"The crew tried to go [in] and see the patient and they were informed that the patient is better and was sleeping," she said in a statement.

"He [Sandile Dlamini, the brother of the man who died) also stated that they would take the patient to hospital the following day if his condition worsened. Based on the above, the call was closed," she said.

Sandile Dlamini told the Pretoria News that emergency workers arrived at his gate at 18:00 on Monday and told him they were from the fire and rescue unit and had come "just to confirm" the patient's address.

"They then left and said I must continue to wait for the ambulance," he said.

In her statement, Ndlovu said the one of the city's rapid intervention vehicles arrived at the Wenninghof building, at 18:03.

Entrance to the building was electronically controlled, and Dlamini went to see the paramedics after 45 minutes.

"The crew explained that they are paramedics and wanted to see the patient, and that is where Sandile said the brother is sleeping, that he was treated by the nurses, and he was better," said Ndlovu.

"The call was received on [Monday] 4 June at 15:03 and there were no ambulances available due to the high demand for ambulances and emergency assistance," she said.

Ndlovu said the city was required to have 26 ambulances operational a day, but only 19 were in use that day.

"The rest of the ambulances were in for breakdowns, repairs and maintenance," she said.

Ndlovu said Monday was a busy day with 41 emergency calls, including road accidents, attended to between 14:00 and 18:00.

"There were two taxi accidents, involving an average of 15 patients, three heavy vehicles involving multiple patients, four calls with asphyxia, critical burns, diabetics and epileptic patients, with several paediatric patients and one contagious disease," she said.

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