Woman (55) injured in ambulance

2018-09-25 06:00
Karen Cornelius from Fiona Court in Heideveld. PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

Karen Cornelius from Fiona Court in Heideveld. PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

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A 55-year-old local woman wants the Western Cape Government’s Health Department to take responsibility after she sustained injuries in an ambulance recently.

Karen Cornelius from Fiona Court was attending a community event close to her home on the morning of Wednesday 29 August when she fell ill and collapsed.

Family and friends rushed to assist her and immediately called an ambulance to transport her to Heideveld Day Hospital, just metres from her home.

“The ambulance driver refused to take me to the closest hospital, after explaining to him that I am registered under Heideveld’s hospital. He continued driving and said he will take me to Hanover Park’s hospital instead,” explains Cornelius.

“On our way to the hospital, an accident occurred causing me to fall from the bench they placed me on. I injured my nose in the process when I fell against an iron pole inside the ambulance.”

Cornelius explains she was not strapped in inside the ambulance at the time of the accident, but was shocked to learn there was no proper first aid kit.

“Upon searching for medical equipment inside the van, the assistant could not find any cloth or bandages to stop the blood and was forced to take any cloth close by. The first aid kit was empty. This was very bad and unprofessional.

“Another ambulance was called in and I was after all taken to Heideveld Day Hospital as requested in the first place. If they had strapped me in and taken me to the closest hospital, this wouldn’t have occurred.”

Cornelius says no sympathy or apologies have been forthcoming from the Western Cape Government’s ambulance services.

The night of the incident was the only time the paramedics visited her to apologise and give an explanation, she said.

“The driver explained that he was trying to avoid a bigger accident when containers with water fell from a vehicle in front of him. This caused him to make an emergency stop. He said that the manager would get back to me, but nobody ever did.

“When my husband went to the ambulance provider’s offices in Pinelands a few days later, it was discovered that my incident was never reported to the manager and was on not on any records. There were also no police cases opened at any of the stations we passed on the day.”

Cornelius feels it is the duty of the Health Department to ensure that she is in good health and that the necessary counselling and treatment is given.

“There is no sympathy for me at all. It has been two weeks since the accident and the impact is only showing now, leaving me with a scar on my face and severe pain on my neck, back and arms.

Her nose injury had to be stitched.

“I can’t get over my heart that all these years I have been travelling with my husband and never got injured, but instead in that of the ambulance’s care. They (ambulance workers) are supposed to ensure that I get safely to a hospital,” she adds.

Robert Daniels, the department’s spokerson, says: “The Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Service is aware of the allegations and view them as serious. We are currently investigating the matter internally. The patient will be contacted by the department in due course to share the findings of this investigation.”

Daniels will provide a follow-up report to People’s Post.

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