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Ambulance dumps sick man at home

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Kimberley - A Kimberley man is fighting for his life at the Kimberley Hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) after an ambulance driver and his assistant, who picked him up unconscious in Malunga Street, Galeshewe, apparently refused to transport him to the hospital and instead dumped him at his home in Matolo Street.

Gilbert Changandela’s family said that they were shocked when two ambulance personnel arrived at their home just after 6am and told them that they were dropping off Changandela, who was unconscious at the time.

“The paramedics told us that they picked Gilbert up in an unconscious state and that they did not check or administer any medication because they believed that he was just sleeping and that he would wake up shortly.

“They left him lying on the floor in the sitting room and told us that taking him to the hospital was unnecessary because they would not even know what to tell the doctor about his condition,” Changandela’s sister in-law, Nkagisang Changandela, said on Friday.

“Our mom has been to the hospital and we have been told that Gilbert has suffered brain damage.”

Changandela’s sister, Keitumetse, said that because of the paramedics’ inability to offer them a clear explanation on how they picked Gilbert in Malunga Street, they suspected that they (paramedics) were hiding some information from them.

“Gilbert had marks on his face when they dropped him off. Who is to say they did not bump him with their vehicle or do something to him? This incident is very confusing and raises suspicions,” Keitumetse said.

Nkagisang explained that they had to phone for another ambulance to come and pick Gilbert up and take him to hospital.

“The ambulance officials in the second ambulance were also perplexed about why the first ambulance did not take him straight to hospital. But what we are unhappy about is who would have taken responsibility if he had died? We don’t understand how the ambulance could drop off an unconscious person at his home instead of taking him to the hospital? We are really confused and shocked,” Nkagisang added.

The spokeswoman for the Northern Cape Department of Health, Lulu Mxekezo, said that the department would investigate the incident.

“The emergency care practitioners are trained to stabilise patients and transport them to the nearest health facility. Their allegations of transporting the patient (Changandela) to his home will be investigated,” she said.

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