ALLEGED REFUSAL OF TREATMENT OF HOMELESS MAN IN UMBILO
ER24 is aware of the allegations made on social media regarding an incident alleging that ER24 refused to respond to an incident in Umbilo, KwaZulu-Natal on 20 March 2019. An emergency call was received on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at 23:25. A female caller stated that she found a young man in the middle of the road that has been stabbed and require an ambulance.
An ambulance, as well as a primary response vehicle with advanced life support, was dispatched by the Support Resource Officer (SRO) to the scene immediately after the incident details were confirmed from the caller, and both emergency vehicles arrived on scene within 11 minutes from being dispatched.
At no time did ER24 refuse to dispatch emergency medical resources to the scene. ER24 will not deny anyone medical treatment when facing a life-threatening medical emergency, regardless of their financial status. In this specific incident, the Emergency Resource Operator (ERO) did state to the caller that a bill would be sent to the patient, if possible.
The ERO made contact with the caller a second time to confirm that emergency resources were on their way. The caller stated that they were fetching their ‘bakkie’, at which point the ERO confirmed again that emergency resources were on their way. The caller stated that they would not be able to afford the bill and the ERO clearly stated that they would not be billed. The ERO tried to obtain a cross street which was provided by the caller as ‘Alan Paton’ and ‘Manning’ shortly before the lined was dropped.
When emergency personnel arrived on scene and assessed the patient, they found that he showed no signs of life and due to the extent of his injury there was sadly nothing more that could have been done for him and he was declared dead on the scene.
Since the allegation was made on social media, ER24’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ben Johnson, made contact with the complainant and requested more information from their side to conduct an investigation. At the time of this media statement, no information was received from the complainant.
ER24 has a clear process flow to guide Emergency Resource Officers in the Emergency Contact Centre. As a private ambulance company, in non-life-threatening emergencies, we need to inform the caller of a possible financial implication to the patient. The consumer protection act guides this.
A counselling and guidance session have been set up with the ERO to clarify this process flow and avoid this from reoccurring.
Manager: Corporate Communication