MUST READ: Paterson Street man dies while waiting for ambulance to arrive

Family gathers at the Paterson Street home, where the deceased resided at the time of the incident.

Last month, on June 13, a Paterson Street resident tragically lost his life while waiting for emergency services to arrive.
According to family members, the 64-year-old man was on his way to the bathroom when he collapsed.

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The family contacted KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Service (KZN EMS), but unfortunately the service didn’t respond immediately.

“We phoned the emergency services, but there was no response for over an hour. We eventually got hold of an ambulance, but after waiting for several minutes we had to drive out to meet them and bring them home,” said one of the residents.

Dr Imran Keeka, DA Member of the Provincial Legislature, explained there were around 892 emergency service vehicles in the region, which included ambulances, patient transport vehicles and advanced life support vehicles.

Of these, only an average of 180 were on the road at any given time, because many had high mileage and frequently broke.

Dr Keeka added many of the operational vehicles were also not on the road because of staff shortages in certain areas, illness and other related matters.

“As a result of this situation, there are many instances of patients dying while waiting for assistance and so many have been brought to my attention over the years.”

ALSO READ: READ NOW: The snake in the grass at Paterson Street – (Gallery)

According to a family member of the deceased, this was not the first time they had experienced poor service from the Department of Health.

“A couple of years back, my father was also very sick and he suffered an injury here at home. The ambulance never came to help him, even after we phoned several times.”

As stated in Section 27(3) of the South African Constitution, “no one may be refused emergency medical treatment”.
Based on this, Keeka expressed his deepest regret and said it was worrying to him that the department did not take situations like this more seriously.

“I do not think they have taken adequate steps to ensure that priority one (P1) emergencies are attended to timelessly. In urban areas, this should be in less than 15 minutes, notwithstanding that Amajuba District is one of the province’s better-performing districts, responding to 75 per cent of these P1 emergencies in under 15 minutes. Districts such as Ethekwini have managed to do this in only 5 per cent of cases which is shocking.”

Correspondence was sent to the Department of Health regarding the incident. At the time of going to print, no response had been given.

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  AUTHOR
F.C. Pelser

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