Arrests made after paramedics attacked

2012-04-25 21:48

Cape Town - Police have made arrests after two paramedics attending to a scene in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, were attacked and robbed, the provincial emergency medical service said on Wednesday.

Spokesperson Keri Davids said the team was treating a drug overdose patient in the township at 02:00 on Tuesday, when about five men entered the ambulance and pepper-sprayed them.

"The male paramedic tried to go get help and tripped over a rock. The men started kicking him and then took a cellphone off him, also frisking [him] for a wallet," she said.

They then took the ambulance key and searched through bags in the front of the vehicle. While this took place, the female paramedic remained in back of the ambulance with the patient.

It was not clear how the men got away, but paramedics managed to flag down another ambulance in the area for help. Davids said it seemed the attackers came from a shebeen opposite the house where the ambulance had parked.

"We are still trying to get exact details of how many men were involved and what was taken, but the crew are still too traumatised to talk and are being counselled."

She said police had made arrests earlier on Wednesday, but Captain Frederick van Wyk was not immediately available to confirm this.

"We don't have statistics or a document to record these attacks, but they happen once or twice a month, if the crew reports it," Davids said.

Paramedics were often the victims of physical or verbal abuse, she said. A case of robbery and assault was opened.

  • EricksonTL - 2012-04-25 21:56

    Don't go into the townships then. That simple. If people in townships are going to act like hooligans, then don't give them the service.

      Simone Bobby Crouch - 2012-04-25 22:15

      How can you deny everyone in townships the right to medical care because there are some ungrateful people out there that for some reason can fathom that paramedics are there to help, big up to those paramedics who provide that vital service

      ArchAngel - 2012-04-25 22:22

      #simone: Then let the people in THAT township deliver the guilty to the POlice, dead or alive! It will show their commitment to fighting crime. If they don't deliver the criminals, tough shyte, no help for them!!

      cnduplessis - 2012-04-25 22:24

      Dear Thoughtsandstuff. This behaviour towards paramedics is everywhere, not just townships. I can't not go in to help your child because of a few people in a community. In my personal experience in a lot of instances it was the community that protected me while I attended to a patient. We need better protection while on duty but not assisting those in need is not an option.

      EricksonTL - 2012-04-25 22:26

      Agreed - big up to them. But isn't this what happens with everything? Money is spent upgrading community services, some people vandalise them. Vital services like paramedics are provided, and they are attacked. Where do we draw the line? How do we stop GOOD people from being hurt for doing their jobs?

  • Sechaba - 2012-04-25 22:06

    This was just an isolated incident

      cnduplessis - 2012-04-25 22:12

      Unfortunately not Sechaba. This one made it to the news. I work as a paramedic-you would be surprised at the amount of verbal abuse and physical abuse happening towards EMS personnel not to mention the damage done to our ambulances and response vehicles.

      sherry.woods2 - 2012-04-25 22:27

      I think it's an isolated incident as well. Opportunists. I go in and out of Masi frequently as a private citizen and have never felt apprehensive about being there, never been threatened. But, it would seem that people rendering special services are targets.

      cnduplessis - 2012-04-25 22:44

      @sherry.woods.\r\nA factor to consider as well is the times we have to go in. Most places are calm and rational 15h00 on a friday afternoon, that same place can change to a war zone at 23h00. Alcohol and the emotions of the people involved make a safe place a dangerous place only a few hours later. A few years ago one of our ambulance crews was in their ambulance in the middle of Hatfield (PTA), bunch of drunk students started slamming, shaking and breaking windows of said ambulance....never made the news-just vehicle damage. But the fear we all heard of our colleagues over the radio was immense-not being able to go in to assist even worse. The fear that crew experienced one can only imagine. It's not isolated but under reported...\r\nA mob mentality is the most terrifying thing-what people would never imagine to do on their own-they do.

      Deana - 2012-04-26 06:23

      @Sechaba- Please don't comment if you don't have correct info- you're embarrassing yourself. What about the paramedic who got raped trying to save a stabbed man's life? By disregarding the statistics you're disrespectful towards all the medical personal getting injured by doing a job most of us will squirm to do. Stop living in a fool's paradise. This is Africa.

      winston.mullany - 2012-04-26 08:25

      Not an isolated incident. These are just the ones reported! We have been targeted twice when we went in the townships with our ambulance, in a week! As cnduplessis has indicated, paramedics get abuse a lot of the times but we get the job done the best we can!

      mike.clery - 2012-04-26 09:18

      @sherry.woods2 - Ever heard of Amy Biehl?

      Deon - 2012-04-26 10:55

      Once or twice a month if they report it is far from an isolated incident.

  • Dean - 2012-04-26 04:20

    from toronto. i have so much respect for paramedics. i have seen them save lives. my love to paramedics!

  • Mark - 2012-04-26 07:08

    Fantastic that arrests have been made! I sincerely hope this implies community cooperation. The culprits deserve very harsh sentences.

  • Nikki Bodenstein - 2012-04-27 01:38

    Robbing the people there to help! What next?!

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