Mom fumes over ambulance not being called for ill child

2018-09-17 15:45

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An angry mother is fuming after a Northdale school failed to call an ambulance when her 11-year-old son suffered a severe asthma attack.

The mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the minor, claimed the principal at Newholmes Primary School declined permission for an ambulance to be called to transport the Grade 6 pupil to the hospital.

She said when she questioned why this had not been done; the principal simply informed her that the school did not want to foot the bill.

In the alleged incident on August 24, the woman’s son (who is asthmatic) is reported to have had a physical altercation with another pupil, and immediately suffered an asthma attack.

She said after her son was hit on the chest, he could not breathe properly.

“The school called and asked me to come in as my child was having difficulty breathing.”

The visibly angry woman told The Witness that when she arrived at the school, she questioned why an ambulance had not been called in to take her son to the hospital.

She said the principal responded that they were prohibited by law to call an ambulance without a parent’s consent.

“The principal said they were not allowed to call an ambulance as the school will be billed for it. I could not believe it. An ambulance should have been called if my son’s life was at danger.”

After she arrived at the school, she said her son was immediately rushed to the hospital where he was put on oxygen and stabilised.

“The principal informed me that I needed to sign a consent form first to allow the school to call an ambulance for my child in case of emergencies.

“How do I give consent when I’m at work? I was never requested to sign consent for an ambulance.”

The woman said while she had received health forms from the school to state her son’s medical history, nothing stipulated that she had to give her consent for the school to call in an ambulance in case of an emergency.

The mother said when she arrived at the school; she found her son uncomfortably slouched on a chair unable to breathe.

“He was in shock, he could not breathe. He could not talk to me and his eyes appeared to roll backwards.

“My child almost died for no reason. Even if the child doesn’t have a medical aid, they could have called an ambulance from a public hospital,” she said.

Newholmes Primary School Governing Body chairperson, Nazeem Safla, said the school was not authorised to call an ambulance without prior consent of the parent.

“It must be noted that although it is not established that the pupil was having an asthma attack, the school nonetheless called the parent in an effort to obtain consent to call emergency services, alternatively, to have the parent take the child to the hospital,” he said. He added that the school is strictly governed by government protocols.

Safla added that the school had taken all neccessary steps to inform parents of all procedures and policies regarding their children.

“In this particular circumstance the school held a parents’ information meeting on or around February 8 and the school’s procedures and policies were discussed in great detail.

“We note with regret, that this particular parent never attended the meeting given that she is well aware that her child suffers with asthma,” he added.

He said that while an ambulance was not called, the pupil was duly attended to, and provided with his asthma inhaler.

Provincial Education Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said ambulances were called out without informing the parent only in a case of a life-threatening emergency.

“It’s standard procedure that a parent should be informed first before anything is done. No parent wants their child to be taken to hospital without their consent.”

Mthethwa said in most cases, parents only want their children to be taken to a family doctor suggested by them.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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