An attack on paramedics in Surrey Estate is among 12 such incidents involving the Province’s EMS workers so far this year.
The attack, on Saturday afternoon March 28, happened after two paramedics responded to a call. It was followed by further attacks in Philippi on the same day and in Lavender Hill the next day.
Deanna Bessick, spokeswoman for the Province’s emergency medical services and forensic pathology services, said the family wanted the patient to be transported to Groote Schuur Hospital instead of Heideveld Community Health Clinic.
The paramedics had been walking to the ambulance to check with the dispatcher whether that was possible when the family had become aggressive, starting to curse, shove, and hit them.
It was protocol for patients to be taken to the hospital nearest their home, Ms Bessick said.
“This behaviour and the nature of such hostile attacks on EMS staff who are essential workers, especially during these difficult times, is strongly condemned. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries and the paramedics received counselling.” The incident was reported to Manenberg police station.
Previous attacks include one in Bonteheuwel on February 19 and one in Heideveld on March 21.
Paramedics and other emergency staff were working more closely with communities during the Covid-19 outbreak, rendering a vital service, and it was more important than ever for them to be able to do their jobs safely, Ms Bessick said.
“This is a period when emergency medical services will be in demand at a community-level, even more than usual, in the public health system.”
Police are investigating a case of common assault.
About 10 people from the household had allegedly been involved in the attack, said Manenberg police spokesman Captain Ian Bennett.
“These attacks on our emergency services are really senseless. Depending on the magistrate, they could get prison time or a fine, and this decision will be made with cognisance that the attacks on paramedics are increasing.”
Anyone with information about attacks on EMS staff should report it to the nearest police station.