Paramedics Under Siege Are Too Frightened to Serve
The Indepentant via YellowBrix
March 10, 2010
ROODEPOORT, South Africa – If there’s a crisis in Roodepoort’s Durban Deep, don’t expect paramedics to turn up to help.
Paramedics are under siege, fearing whether a callout may be an ambush, following the weekend rape of an ambulance crew while tending to a child.
At Station 21, where the two paramedics are based, colleagues were still shaken from the incident.
The station now refuses to service Durban Deep, despite assurances from head office that paramedic services to the area will continue.
On Friday night, two women paramedics from Hodgson Street station in Roodepoort responded to a desperate call from a mother who said her two-year-old son had been burnt. The incident happened in Durban Deep, a mishmash of informal housing and low-cost flats, with near impassable roads.
The ambulance was driven to a pick-up point along Main Reef Road, where residents are often asked to bring patients.
The two paramedics were met by the woman, her injured toddler and two men. The boy needed to be hospitalised, so the mother went home to fetch a jersey for him.
“While they (paramedics) were busy with the child in the ambulance, three armed men appeared from the bushes, threatened the two men and told them to run away, otherwise they would shoot them.
“The two men ran down the road and the suspects took the women into the bushes,” Senior Superintendent Noxolo Kweza said.
“They raped one woman and attempted to rape the other one,” she added.
The two men, who were forced to flee, alerted police and accompanied them to the scene of the incident, helping them to search the bushes. Disturbed by the police presence, the three armed men fled while attempting to rape the second paramedic.
Both medical officers were receiving counselling and were unable to speak to police after their traumatic ordeal.
It’s understood the child was not further injured in the attack and was taken to hospital.