A paramedic was recently stabbed and assaulted after stopping at a motor vehicle collision to provide aid. The incident happened on a Saturday night when the unnamed ER24 paramedic and his colleagues came across the accident in Ohrtmann Road in Pietermaritzburg.
They were on their way to a nearby hospital to deliver patients from a previous motor vehicle accident, said ER24 spokeswoman, Chitra Bodasing-Harduth. The paramedics had pulled over to assess the collision and confirm whether further assistance was required on the scene. Moments later, four occupants from one of the vehicles involved in the accident verbally assaulted them.
The situation intensified and one of the four men pulled a knife and attacked one of the paramedics wounding his face and hands. A member of the public then boldly stepped in and disarmed the knife-wielding man. The paramedics had called for police assistance and further ER24 services soon after the verbal assault. When another ER24 emergency vehicle arrived on the scene shortly after the paramedic had been stabbed, the attacker ran across the road and came back with a brick, attempting to further assault the ER24 crew. One paramedic, however, managed to disarm the suspect according to Bodasing-Harduth.
When police reached the scene, the suspect verbally attacked the officers and once again attempted to attack the ER24 medical crew. It was understood that the suspect also assaulted the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident. The four suspects were arrested by the police on the scene and taken to Mountain Rise police station.
A case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, common assault, reckless and negligent driving, malicious damage to property, and resisting arrest was opened. The ER24 spokeswoman said at that stage it was not clear whether any other charges would be raised against the suspects as the police were still obtaining witness statements.
“The injured paramedic received several stitches to his face and hand at a nearby Mediclinic. He also sustained several bruises. He is currently doing well and will be supported by the company where needed. The patients that were originally being transported in the ambulance were later transported privately to a nearby hospital,” Chitra Bodasing-Harduth said.
Because of the increase in incidences such as this one, ER24 has had to train its personnel on how to handle threats on their own lives while trying to save the lives of others. Emergency services personnel have been victims of attacks, robberies, and hijackings while responding to calls for help, Bodasing-Harduth said.
Increasing acts of violence in our country are a grim reminder that Medical Aid is a necessary investment.