Paramedic Nico Stapelberg was stabbed 28 times by four men who tried to rob him at a cafe in Jacobsdal on the weekend. Picture: Soraya Crowie
A 38-year-old paramedic said on Tuesday that he was “lucky to be alive” after being stabbed 28 times by four men who robbed him.

Speaking from his hospital bed at Gariep Mediclinic in Kimberley, Nico Stapelberg said that he was travelling from Orania to Pretoria on Friday morning when the incident occurred, after he stopped at a rural cafe close to Jacobsdal.

“I had left my bag containing my cellphone in the vehicle and walked to the cafe carrying only my wallet. Four men approached me and demanded that I hand over my cellphone. I tossed the vehicle’s keys into the veld and told them I did not have a cellphone. They started stabbing me with sharp objects that I could not identify. I shielded my upper body with my arms but they managed to stab me in my chest, side, stomach and back and then ran away with my wallet. I used items that I had in my vehicle to bandage the bleeding wounds and then contacted medical personnel in Orania, who came to meet me halfway. Upon arrival, a doctor and nurse determined that I had incurred a tension hemothorax and we realised how serious the situation was,” Stapelberg told the DFA yesterday.

He explained that a tension hemothorax was the second largest cause of preventable death in trauma but added that a nurse performed a needle decompression on him - something that probably saved his life.

He went on to say that after some “administrative difficulties” an ambulance transported him to Mediclinic Gariep in Kimberley, where he was admitted to the critical care unit.

Stapelberg, who was ready to be discharged yesterday, was full of praise for Mediclinic Gariep.

“I have dedicated 20 years of my life to saving lives and have been exposed to many health facilities. However, the service that I received at the hospital was amazing and others can come and learn from Mediclinic Gariep,” he said.

Stapelberg urged members of the public to gain knowledge about basic first aid - something that could, as in his case, make the difference between life and death to someone that is injured.

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