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Pietermaritzburg - Proper treatment was not given to a man who died after participating in a KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) fitness test, an inquiry in Pietermaritzburg heard on Thursday.
“You have to keep the airway clear, as soon as you compromise the patient's airways, the patient 1/8will die 3/8,” said Emergency Medical Rescue Service intermediate life support paramedic, Satish Gyani.
Lindokuhle Kunene's health was compromised because he was not intubated when being treated by an advanced life support paramedic, he said.
Gyani was testifying at a commission of inquiry probing the deaths of eight people who took part in a 4km run at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg in December.
This formed part of a fitness test for RTI job applicants. More than 40 000 people qualified to apply for 90 advertised RTI trainee posts. Of these, 20 000 applicants attended a fitness test on December 27 and a similar number on December 28.
Gyani said he found Kunene lying on the ground and took him inside the ambulance to treat him.
He checked for his vital signs, put a drip on him and administered oxygen while his colleague, who was an intermediate life support paramedic, put an electrocardiogram on Kunene.
Gyani said Kunene's vital signs were stable, his heart rhythm was normal and his sugar levels were fine.
“He looked dehydrated, he was talking but was a bit confused,” he said.
While he was in the ambulance he “fitted” twice, defecated, passed urine, and vomited, Gyani said.
“The patient was frothing and vomit was coming out of his mouth. I could see brown things coming out of his mouth,” he said.
An advanced life support paramedic took over treating Kunene when he was having a seizure for the second time and gave him Valium.
Kunene had to be intubated because he had had a seizure and was given drugs, so his airways were compromised, he said.
Gyani said Kunene was not intubated by the advanced life support paramedic.
“As long as you keep the airway clear the patient will be okay,” he said.
Gyani said when he saw Kunene's condition worsening he suggested that he be transported to hospital.
He said he was not sure if the advanced life support paramedic intubated Kunene on the way to hospital because he was not in the ambulance.