Alleged abandonment of patient by EMS paramedics: suspension done, investigation underway

26 June 2023

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health is currently attending to the clinical needs of a patient who was allegedly abandoned by an ambulance in Umlazi last night.

The patient is currently in hospital and getting the requisite level of care.

Meanwhile, the two paramedics implicated in the matter have been placed under immediate precautionary suspension, so as to allow an investigation to proceed without hindrance.

It is alleged that, after responding to a distress call, the paramedics refused to alight from an ambulance and walk down a stairway to reach the patient.

They allegedly said "it's not our job to walk down the stairs" and demanded that the patient be brought up by her relatives instead.

While neighbours were trying to carry the patient up the stairway, the paramedics allegedly accused them of being "too slow" and "wasting our time", and left the scene.

The highly distressed patient was eventually transported to a nearby clinic with an e-hailing taxi service; and then subsequently transferred to hospital by another Emergency Medical Services ambulance.

The Department is deeply disturbed by these allegations, as such actions are acutely opposed to emergency care providers' main objectives.

These include conserving life; alleviation of suffering; promoting health; doing no harm; and encouraging the quality and equal availability of emergency medical care services.

The Department would also like to acknowledge and appreciate the actions of those who tagged its executive and senior officials on Facebook, to draw their attention on the matter.

The Department further encourages the public to make use of its "Bika Sikusize" mobile application (app) to report any acts of impropriety, so that they can be dealt with urgently.

The Department will not hesitate to take the most stringent action possible against any emergency healthcare staff who deliberately fail to discharge their duties and prioritise the life and well-being of those in need.

ENDS Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health

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This page last edited on 28 June, 2023

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