On Monday 11th Jan 2016, two paramedics landed themselves in trouble after leaving a mentally ill man in an ambulance with the engine running.
It was reported that the paramedics alighted from the ambulance at Maokeng section in Tembisa, Ekhuruleni, to speak to the patient’s uncle while they left the keys in the ignition on New Year’s Eve. In their defense, the two claimed they had been hijacked when in fact they had carelessly left the patient in the ambulance with the ignition still running.
The Gauteng department of health said the paramedics will definitely face a disciplinary hearing and punishment.
A member of the department Steve Mabona said in a statement: “The department wishes to inform that disciplinary action has been instituted against the paramedics who informed us about the alleged hijacking of an ambulance while attending a psychotic patient on 31 December 2015 in Tembisa.”
“An investigator has been appointed to look into the matter. We sincerely apologise for misleading the public.”
Mabona added that provincial health MEC, Qedani Mahlangu, was surprised and disappointed by the recent development.
The patient’s uncle, Johannes Ramosele, said he had called the ambulance after his nephew started destroying things in his house. He said the paramedics were discussing with him at his gate when his nephew, who used to be a taxi driver before his mental illness, climbed over to the ambulance driver’s seat and drove off.
He drove the ambulance to Vusumuzi section where he allegedly hit a shack, leaving the vehicle slightly damaged.
Later the same day, Mabona released a statement saying the new ambulance had been hijacked. He said two men armed with firearms had demanded the vehicle from the two paramedics who were busy with the said patient. Mabona also said another ambulance was dispatched to attend to the patient.
An eyewitness said the patient looked happy to drive the ambulance. He said the patient was trying to park the ambulance when he hit a shack that was unoccupied at the time. Police equally confirmed that there was no case of hijacking that had been reported to them.