Disabled medic flies into the field for the first time

2016-09-05 08:53

Durban - George Swart is an unassuming man, bespectacled and quiet in his wheelchair.

While nondescript outwardly, it is almost impossible to count how many lives Swart has saved in his sixteen years as an emergency medical services dispatcher.

Crippled by cerebral palsy and confined to a wheelchair, he has spent years directing help from Netcare 911's call centre in Durban to where it is needed most.

On Tuesday, on the eve of his 16th anniversary at Netcare 911, Swart, 46, was put in the spotlight.

His colleagues, acknowledging the pivotal role he plays, used a joint training mission with paramedics and the military to get Swart up into the air in a high-speed helicopter ride over the streets of Durban, where he has directed life-saving care for years.

Netcare911 spokesperson Chris Botha described Swart as an inspiration.

'Lost for words'

Swart spent years in Netcare 911's dispatch centre but subsequently moved into an administration role, co-ordinating logistics for the company's coastal region.

"George, he never sits backs and mopes about his disability and he never lets it limit him. He has always been in the background and organising everything for everyone else," Botha said.

"With our rescue officer Konrad Jones organising the training mission, he managed to include George. He [George] is always part of the planning so we thought we would make this happen to give back to him," Botha said.

Speaking to News24, Swart said he was still in awe.

"It was totally unexpected and I had no idea it was going to be done. We did a circuit around the area while they were doing training," Swart said.

"It was pretty incredible and it was a huge surprise. I don't even know how to describe what it felt like and it was really a once in a lifetime. I am still lost for words."

Read more on:    netcare911  |  durban

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