Paramedic vows to 'pay it forward' after being shot

PHOTO: Supplied
PHOTO: Supplied

A KwaZulu-Natal paramedic who nearly died after being wounded in a shooting incident says he can’t wait to get back to work and serve his community again.

The last thing 38-year-old Walter Molife, a basic life support practitioner, can remember is relaxing while off duty on Easter Monday before he was critically injured in the incident outside his local shisanyama in Pinetown. He was taken to a local hospital for emergency care.

A few days later Netcare 911’s regional operations manager for KwaZulu-Natal, Gary Paul – who describes Walter as “an esteemed, dedicated and passionate paramedic” – heard about the incident.

“It came as a shock to the entire team when we heard that Walter, who’s well known and a pillar of his community, had been critically injured through a violent criminal act,” Gary says.

“We found out that Walter had been transported to the closest hospital for emergency care after the near-fatal shooting and that he wasn’t doing well.”

Gary says Walter, who’ll celebrate 11 years of service with Netcare 911 in May, has been an asset to emergency medical services in the region. So Gary and his colleagues wanted to do everything in their power to help one of their own in his time of need.

“When the team and I arrived at the hospital we found Walter in a critical condition,” Gary recalls. “Due to the nature of his injuries he required advanced life support care including being placed on number of drips and a ventilator.

“Once he was sufficiently stable we transported him to Netcare uMhlanga Hospital for the highly specialised care he so desperately needed.”

Walter, who was admitted to the hospital on 2 April, had suffered multiple traumatic injuries and had gunshot wounds in the left side of his chest and lower abdomen.

His injuries included an open chest wound, a punctured lung and several lacerations to his diaphragm, stomach, pancreas, small intestines and colon.

Dr Mohamed Aslam Noorbhai, the surgeon at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital who treated Walter, says as part of his initial recovery he required immediate emergency surgery and subsequent procedures, as well as intensive care.

Walter, who remained in hospital for about three weeks, says he’s especially grateful to Netcare, his Netcare 911 colleagues and Dr Noorbhai for their care.

“It’s a miracle that I’m alive,” he says. “I woke from the grave.”

He says he wishes to continue serving his community as a paramedic once he’s made a full recovery.

“I want to live to be 150 years old, and I want to go on and save as many lives as possible.”

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