KZN ambulance escapes hijack attempt en route to pregnant patient

2017-02-15 09:29
Ambulance. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Ambulance. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Durban – A KwaZulu-Natal emergency medical services (EMS) vehicle on its way to attend to a pregnant woman was almost hijacked at Slangspruit in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday night, the province's health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said on Wednesday.

Dhlomo said two paramedics had been responding to a distress call about a pregnant patient, whose location they could not find, when they were approached by four men and a woman.

Two of the men confronted the two emergency workers demanding that they open the doors of the ambulance.

The group claimed that one of them had been injured and needed medical attention.

When a crew member informed them that the EMS vehicle had been dispatched for a maternity case, one of the men allegedly jumped onto the crash bar of the vehicle and deliberately broke the windscreen.

The driver then drove off with the man holding on to the front of the vehicle.

'Extremely worrying trend'

When the vehicle reached a set of traffic lights, bystanders pulled the man off the vehicle and subdued him before allegedly assaulting him.

The paramedics were driving towards their base when they came across an SAPS vehicle and asked for help.

Dhlomo said he was deeply concerned about the spate of crimes committed against healthcare workers in the course of their work.

"It is an extremely worrying trend, because it affects our ability to fulfil our core godly mandate, which is to save lives. Such attacks on health workers and government property should be condemned by all as they could result in paramedics refusing to go to certain areas."

Dhlomo urged the community to protect paramedics, healthcare professionals and all other state workers and property.

"If the public could be more alert and be the eyes and ears of the police and hand over to the police any information that they might have on incidents of crime that are being planned, or those that have occurred, we can then begin to arrest this troublesome trend."

Dhlomo also warned against vigilantism.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  health  |  crime

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