The IFP in the KZN Legislature, as the Official Opposition in the province, calls for urgent action against heartless paramedics who allegedly left a sick patient to fend for herself in Umlazi.
According to the information gathered from family members of Ms Thembeka Qwabe (38), it is alleged that she was in excruciating pain and in a critical condition due to heart complications. However, when the paramedics arrived, they refused to carry her up a flight of steps to the ambulance.
The paramedics claimed this was not their responsibility, and that the family should carry Ms Qwabe.
While the family tried to get assistance to carry their sick family member up the steps, the paramedics left – without offering any help – citing safety concerns, saying paramedics are being robbed and attacked by criminals.
As the IFP, we fully appreciate that paramedics have the right to be safe while they work, however, there did not appear to be any imminent threat to their safety when they abandoned Ms Qwabe.
The IFP notes this type of behaviour – of healthcare practitioners failing to put patients’ needs first – is becoming a hallmark of the South African health sector, with many South Africans losing confidence in healthcare staff.
We urge healthcare practitioners to change for the better. Being a paramedic is not a profession for the faint-hearted: it requires hard work, dedication, and a heart for patients.
It must be added that the IFP has – on numerous occasions – called upon the KZN MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane, to inform the public of the Department’s plans to keep paramedics safe, but our calls seem to fall on deaf ears.
As the IFP, we therefore call on the MEC to provide clarity on the responsibilities of paramedics when out on a call. Surely, paramedics must be able to move a patient from their home to the ambulance? What would happen if a patient lived alone?
If the paramedics sent to assist Ms Qwabe are found to have neglected their duties, immediate action must be taken, to prevent other patients from being abandoned.
We further call on the MEC to present a plan – with tangible solutions – to protect the paramedics and other service providers who have become soft targets for criminals.
Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana MPL
IFP KZN Spokesperson on Health
078 302 3991