News24

MEC defends using emergency chopper

2012-11-14 22:18

Pietermaritzburg - KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo's department on Wednesday defended his use of an emergency helicopter.

Department head Sibongile Zungu told reporters in Pietermaritzburg that Dhlomo had been required to attend to a dispute between a doctor and residents at Manguzi, in Umkhanyakude, on the far north of the province.

"The incident involved a doctor and some young girls who were in the doctor’s room and the community was up in arms," she said.

"It is with a heavy heart that we find ourselves in a position where we have to hold such a briefing, but the family must bear with us. In the past days there has been a huge media interest on the matter."

Dhlomo reportedly commandeered the helicopter last week, delaying an injured teenager's arrival at a Durban hospital.

Asheen Maharaj, 15, was left brain dead following a car crash near Pinetown last Saturday. His parents Ashnee and Ashwin and sister Asheena were killed.

Zungu said the nature of Maharaj's injuries meant that his chances of survival were slim, and that if he had survived, his life would not have been normal.

She dismissed suggestions that the helicopter had not been made available.

One of the two Emergency Medical Rescue Services helicopters was called off 17 minutes before arriving on the scene, after communication between the paramedics and the helicopter crew, said Zungu.

Dhlomo was not at the briefing as he was attending a cabinet meeting, which takes place every Wednesday.

Zungu said the department had not had contact with Maharaj's family.

"The department has not been in contact with the family and is not in the habit of doing so."

Comments
  • Desilusionada - 2012-11-14 22:34

    "The department has not been in contact with the family and is not in the habit of doing so." But an MEC (~Exclamation mark~) will fly " to attend to a dispute between a doctor and residents" So OK, now that we've picked up our jaws from the floor, tell us the REAL story....

      mark.a.fysh - 2012-11-14 23:11

      I think he is taking SA for a ride.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-11-14 23:24

      Their habits change like the wind. Are they in the habit of racing off to the "far north" of the province (or any other corner) when one group of people gets p'd off with another? Judging by the number of equipment failures, medicine shortages, infant mortality, outbreaks of cholera and other nasty diseases in KZN alone, this is the first time any Health MEC has raced off anywhere. To try justify it by diagnosing "that the chances of survival were slim" shows what little regard the HEALTH MEC has for human life or for the family of Asheen Maharaj . Journos, please, follow-up on this heli-trip. There's more to this story than this very condescending press-release

      infijar.ken - 2012-11-14 23:35

      So this Zungu person states that "Maharaj's injuries meant that his chances of survival were slim, and that if he had survived, his life would not have been normal." Well that's all right then!!!!! I'm lost for words for this sanctimonious comment. What an absolute b#tch. I hope the remnants of this poor family take her to court for this.

      nico.vandermerwe.54 - 2012-11-15 04:43

      \not in the habit of doing so\ What a callous and unsympathetic remark towards the bereaved family by the MEC's office. What habit can you have after f-ing up like this? And to schedule a media briefing when the MEC is in a meeting? Too important to be there himself? His attitude keeps on showing an utter disrespect for the people he is supposed to serve.

      fussed.anderson - 2012-11-15 07:25

      The girls there are pregnant and the mec is the father?

  • donald.perumal - 2012-11-14 22:35

    @Sibongile Zungu That was NOT an emergency-it was a police matter.No need for emergency air ambulance!

      roger.kaputnick.90 - 2012-11-15 03:11

      Absolutely Donald. Since when does health mec get involved a dispute. It's a job for the cops if the witch doctor in Manguzi is screwing around with the local talent! This chop is using state helicopters for private transport more likely.

      christo.schalkwyk - 2012-11-15 07:10

      and what about organ transplants? He could have saved and changed the lifes of 4 - 5 people. You know that organ donors are at an alltime low since the invention of airbags and such. When you do get a brain dead body all efforts must be made to recover the organs!!!!

  • BobM6389 - 2012-11-14 22:43

    I think that the word for this rubbish is 'spin doctoring'. Remember the old saying 'HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT A POLITICIAN IS LYING' answer 'HIS/HER LIPS ARE MOVING' its part of the game in S.A.

  • BobM6389 - 2012-11-14 22:48

    I think that the word for this rubbish is 'spin doctoring'. Remember the old saying 'HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT A POLITICIAN IS LYING' answer 'HIS/HER LIPS ARE MOVING' its part of the game in S.A.

  • annelise.vanderschyff - 2012-11-14 22:49

    Another clown joins the circus!!!!

  • ajloubser - 2012-11-14 22:59

    That was a real emergency... more important than all is that it appears a cANCer member is doing a "good" job by flying in a helicopter to look to be sorting out some spat instead of a car to the peril of those in real need and they don't even care to say sorry.... now... where are the trolls... Dont vote DA... dont vote for anyone but most important, don't vote for cANCer... Not even the health MEC will care to help. (but if you do want service delivery consider DA and stop getting brain washed and settling for corruption, laziness and Another National Catastrophe)

  • rory.n.price - 2012-11-14 23:04

    Yeah right

  • Erna - 2012-11-14 23:11

    And that's why an air ambulance was used? I really thought they would think of a better reason, but then again we're talking about the arrogant anc here.

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-11-14 23:20

    "The incident involved a doctor and some young girls who were in the doctor’s room and the community was up in arms," she said." Did I read that right? He urgently needed to attend a matter of a doctor getting up to muhdikkery, which is more important than a kids life?

  • firmsly.kabelo - 2012-11-14 23:21

    That dispute should've been attended by police and MEC of Safety and Security using cars not a chopper. MEC you're responsible for this boy's death. Zungu is just talking nonsense.

  • debduplessis - 2012-11-14 23:23

    Asheen Maharaj, 15, was left brain dead following a car crash near Pinetown last Saturday. His parents Ashnee and Ashwin and sister Asheena were killed..... YOU FIND THIS ACCEPTABLE??? SHAME ON YOU ... you could have travelled by car & still made your date!!!

      debduplessis - 2012-11-14 23:25

      why come up with this 12 days later??? ... sorry "excuse" - what rubbish!!!

  • bob.small.7547 - 2012-11-14 23:27

    Pathetic feeble and inexcusable excuses, utter hogwash! These fools have not an inkling of reality, they like in the land of nod!

  • sally.lewitt - 2012-11-14 23:31

    Dhlomo is a 'DOM OU' Are we supposed to believe this BS story.. Don't know whether to laugh or cry.. How sad that this boy wasn't given a fighting chance at life!!

  • tsaneka1 - 2012-11-14 23:35

    Absolute hogwash. Would have sounded better if the kept their traps shut.

  • ronald.stilianou - 2012-11-14 23:37

    First order of business for the DA- "FIRE THIS GUY!"

      harald.voney - 2012-11-15 07:28

      Actually, open a case off MURDER against them...

  • gaeleen - 2012-11-15 00:20

    What happened to the car. Feel important to step out of chopper. Dif puppy

  • nico.eksteen.7 - 2012-11-15 04:45

    I thought the emergency helicopter was for medical emergencies and matters of life and death.

  • nico.eksteen.7 - 2012-11-15 04:52

    The services of one of the helicopters was called off 17 minutes before arrival. What I would like to know is if that helicopter was in the air flying towards the accident scene when it was called off or still grounded at the time? This sounds like a made-up/cover-up story.

      lindaawhelan - 2012-11-15 12:41

      I think previous reports stated that the second helicopter was an hour away (probably taking Zweli Mkhize to his kids sports day or something) so it was quicker to drive. The medics had probably wasted enough time trying to get the one that should have been five minutes away.

  • ant.duke - 2012-11-15 05:10

    It might not be in the next year but these heartless, selfish narcissist bastards will see their gat eventually...

  • yolanda.bezuidenhoutfraser - 2012-11-15 05:45

    The use of an AIR AMBULANCE to go sort out a DISPUTE??? Does the MEC and the province know about triage? What is the difference between a P1 patient and a DISPUTE? The fact that the boy was brain dead is fact after the matter!! Thus a very poor excuse for the abuse of provincial transport of the sick and dying. There is no excuse he can offer that will hide the fact that he has no regard for life and saving of a life. His ego needs to be elevated by an air ambulance. To hell with priority patients that might need the critical transport. He has no idea of triage!

  • fjbjones - 2012-11-15 06:14

    Ok first things first your MEC of HEALTH ... Not "disputes with doctors and young girls". Second: a little more respect for human life please. For the head of the department to regard his status as "not normal"? Wtf???? What kind of a diagnosis is that. In a lot of situations a slim chance is all people hace Third : Where exactly did they land this chop? Like there's a helipad where this dispute took place? No respect what so ever. I hope the family takes this chop to court.

  • KCorsar - 2012-11-15 06:16

    ????????????????? what else is there to say, what BS!!

  • susan.agrella - 2012-11-15 06:21

    Arrogance supercedes this kind of behaviour!

  • jon.jones.90663894 - 2012-11-15 06:28

    So the ANC now decides who lives and who dies ?. I hate you 'things' more than I thought I had the capacity to hate anything.

  • storm.trooper.125 - 2012-11-15 07:04

    so if his life would not been normal..so the MEC department chose dead rather than life..a ambulance is a ambulance weather its a vehicle or a helicopter or plane..or ship...ITS NOT TO TRANSPORT PPL TO MEETINGS, APOINTMENTS OR TO SOLVE A DISPUTES!!! SHAME ON U

  • phuti.mashau - 2012-11-15 07:05

    Eeeh, how pathetic!\r\nShouldnt he be using a car for such things, and beside what does disputes between a doctor and 2girls have to do with him...multitasking i see,MEC Health/Security Service ne!

  • tobydt - 2012-11-15 07:08

    "The incident involved a doctor and some young girls who were in the doctor’s room and the community was up in arms." Seriously? Is this the excuse?

  • john.wood.12764874 - 2012-11-15 07:23

    "Zungu said the nature of Maharaj's injuries meant that his chances of survival were slim, and that if he had survived, his life would not have been normal." This sounds like the man is saying that should you be disabled in any way, you do not deserve to live ? What is his problem ? I didn't know that he had a crystal ball that could tell him the outcome of a crash victims life if he had the care that he needed at the time. Or did the "spirits" tell him ? I beg of all South Africans to stand together and start fighting against this abuse of power by corrupt officials. Stand together for a better South Africa !

  • ester.venter.3 - 2012-11-15 07:29

    First off I want to comment on the poor reporting and writing of all articles lately. These days it is all about sensation and to get reaction from the public before it is about the truth. I have noticed that the norm for reporting would be to jazz a story of some interest up to a flaring lie to get more emotions sparked. This comes out when subtle changes are made to the story every time new information comes to light. With this report, the initial story said there was only one helicopter. This story says that one of 2 emergency heli's was on its way and was called of 17 min before it would have arrived. So there was an extra helicopter, and it was on course for the accident? I totally agree that the audacity of the MEC to travel in a official emergency helicopter is ridiculous, but it doesn't seem like his decision to misuse goverment funds actually affected the situation in the end. Also, he didn't decide that the other helicopter should turn away... Paramedics did. And if none of us were paramedics on the scene, we would not be really able to determine how serious his injuries were. I know for a fact a paramedic would not just give up on a life. They wouldn't have decided to stop the helicopter from coming if they thought that this boy, in any way, could have survived. But once you are brain dead, it is not a matter of you are not going to have a 'normal' life, its no life, no presence what so ever. And I am not saying that this is what happened for a fact, I am trying to say that due to disgusting reporting, we basically have very little facts to make judgement calls on.

      ianingwe - 2012-11-15 07:51

      In one of the earlier reports the alternative would have come from Richards Bay with an ETA of an hour later. The road trip to the hospital took 30 minutes! The big question that needs to be answered is how often and at what cost does the MEC abuse the air ambulance. This will not have been the first time but does appear to be the first time the public have been informed!

      elspeth.hassall - 2012-11-15 11:02

      What I want to know is: 1)How much did this helicopter ride cost the tax payer? 2)Was it REALLY necessary to fly off, in great haste, to attend to a matter that could be sorted out by the police? Is the MEC for Health a police reservist or something? @ ingwe you have hit the nail on the head...if she was not so busy, I would like the Public Protector to probe this as well

  • bill.mckimm.9 - 2012-11-15 07:58

    It is good that the head of dept can maken such an accurate diagnosis from such a great distance without looking at the patient and without medical training. These cadre are truely briliant!!!!!!

  • clive.prince.14 - 2012-11-15 08:04

    Absolute hogwash -you need a an Medical emergency helicopter to settle a dispute !!!.I smell a rat here - !.How dare he play God and decide who lives who dies and what the persons quality of life ia going to be!!I say FIRE HIM !!!!

  • marc.klynhans - 2012-11-15 08:20

    This just pisses me off. I shouldn't read the news in the morning.

  • charnelle.bester - 2012-11-15 08:27

    Very bad judgement from this clown. Since when do politicians play God?

  • sisie.indola - 2012-11-15 08:36

    That is such a lame excuse it's unbelievable. Since when does the MEC of Health interfere in a dispute between Doctor and family (there is something fishy about this story)

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-11-15 08:53

    Just about every community is up in arms these days so what made this one more important? Was the situation life threatening if so why was it not reported. Do we really believe this story to be true?

  • george.olivier.56 - 2012-11-15 08:57

    you lie you lie you lie

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-11-15 09:29

    The people of Natal should be marching on this guys office and physically remove him, by throwing to the curb, but would that be possible? It seems as if he is never in his office.

  • nathan.g.moss - 2012-11-15 11:40

    How do you not choke on all the S%&T that comes out your mouth? If you feel that an argument is more important than someone’s life then you do not deserve the title of doctor.

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