Durban - A Durban policeman who was mugged and shot in the back died after he was turned away by nearby hospitals on Sunday.
According to IPSS Medical Rescue Operations Manager, Paul Herbst, the 48-year-old man was attacked by two suspects who came from behind and grabbed his firearm which they used to shoot him in the back at Mandini on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.
IPSS contacted the Netcare Alberlito Hospital and then the Umhlanga Hospital but neither could admit him - because they had no neurosurgeons.
The patient was then accepted at Ethekwini hospital which was about 100km (one hour) away, where he later died.
Herbst said Ethekwini hospital was the only hospital that was willing to admit the patient.
Disputing the claims, Netcare Emergency and Trauma Division General Manager Mande Toubkin said Netcare Alberlito Hospital was not the appropriate facility for the care of a patient with critical injuries of this nature, in compliance with the trauma care standards.
Toubkin added that Umhlanga Hospital, on the other hand, indicated to the emergency medical service provider that it could accept the patient. However, this hospital made it clear that a general surgeon, but not a neurosurgeon, was available to assist.
When asked if the hospital helped the patient before he was transferred to a hospital with a neurosurgeon, Toubkin said that Umhlanga Hospital's emergency department awaited the patient's arrival, but the patient was never brought to the hospital.
But, according to Herbst, IPSS was advised not to bring the patient and look for alternatives.
KwaZulu-Natal Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said that a murder case has been opened at the Sundumbili police station and no arrests have been made yet.