Man bleeds to death while waiting for ambulance

2015-04-27 16:08

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Durban - A man, stabbed during a robbery in central Durban on Sunday night, bled to death while allegedly waiting more than an hour for an ambulance.

As police officers frantically called ambulances from KwaZulu-Natal’s EMRS, the injured man slowly succumbed to his injuries and drew his last breath five minutes before an ambulance finally arrived.

The official opposition in the province have labelled the man’s death "an unacceptable tragedy", while the Department of Health said it was inundated when the urgent calls for help were received.

A Metro policeman, who requested anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the press, said the man had been stabbed during a robbery at a central Durban tavern.

“When he tried to fight them [the attackers], he was stabbed once in the head and twice in the chest. He was bleeding all over the place,” the Metro cop said.

“While the injured man lay slumped against the pavement, his attackers stole his valuables, and even stripped him of his shoes and socks.

“When we arrived he was struggling to breathe and we could see that he was in bad shape. We placed the first call for an ambulance at 20:58 and they said one was on the way. After 30 minutes, when the ambulance still hadn’t arrived, we called again and were told they were busy and there was no ambulance for this man. We all stood there and watched him die and there was nothing we could do,” he said.

Spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health Sam Mkhwanazi said: “The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health confirms this incident, and would like to pass its condolences to the next of kin of the deceased.  The Department’s Emergency Medical Services call centre did receive a call in connection with this incident on April 26 at 20:59. However, it was inundated with emergency calls at this time, which all required attention, including this one.”

DA spokesperson on health, Dr Imran Keeka, said that they would refer the matter to the health ombudsman for further investigation.

“It is unacceptable that any life threatening emergency can be left unattended to for such a long time. There must be a determination of exactly what happened as well as serious consequences for those implicated if any culpability is identified,” he said.

“If the investigation additionally determines that this is as a result of the KZN Health Department's delay in attending to the concerns of EMRS employees, then as we have repeatedly said, that other than lay blame at the door of those who simply did not care to attend to a dying person, the greater responsibility of any death or disability as a result of this, lies squarely at the door of Health MEC, Dr Dhlomo,” Keeka said.

“EMRS in the entire province has a massive shortage of vehicles which affects response times.  Clearly the department and its political heads are failing the people of KZN by not prioritising concerns where fatalities result from such procrastination,” he said.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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