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Ambulance workers attacked, while treating a patient

"We have to devise strategies to ensure medics are kept safe while at work"

A DRAMATIC early morning robbery saw two Gardmed medics and a critically injured patient held up at gunpoint this week.

The medics were attacked by three robbers during an emergency call out in Zwide, Port Elizabeth.

Medics Renier Mostert, 34, and Heather McLeod, 23, were held hostage and threatened with their lives while attempting to stabilise a diabetic patient who had collapsed inside her Mahakana Street home shortly after midnight.

Both, visibly traumatised, medics have recalled their near death experience and said that through the entire ordeal their primary focus was to get the patient to hospital.

“On arrival at the address we went into the house to started treating the patient. She had fallen off the bed and was mumbling,” McLeod said.

“We were inside for about 20 minutes stabilising the patient before putting her onto a stretcher and loading her into the ambulance. After she was loaded inside I ran back into the house and grabbed our medical bags while he (Renier) stayed with the woman to check her vitals.”

McLeod said when she returned to the ambulance she was confronted by three gunmen.

Mostert, who was sitting inside the ambulance with the back door open at the time, saw a gun come past his head when he grabbed it.

“I didn’’t know what was happening. All I remember is seeing the gun and I instinctively grabbed it. I immediately pushed it down as I thought that if a shot was going to go off it would either hit me or the vehicle,” he said.

“While I was holding the gun, another man came from the side and hit me over the head with his gun.”

In a daze, after being hit, Mostert looked up and saw a gun pointed at him while another was aimed at McLeod’’s head.

“I knew if we put up a fight we would lose. The robbers made it clear that they would shoot us if we resisted,” he said.

“The men started going through the bags and opened the ambulance front door before demanding our cellphones and money. They briefly rummaged through our stuff before running down the road.

“As they were running I jumped over the front seats and grabbed the radio to call for help.”

Both Mostert and McLeod said that throughout the entire robbery their main concern was the patient's safety.

“The patient was in a critical condition and it was vital for us to get her to hospital as quick as possible,” Mostert said.

“Only after we arrived at hospital did the shock wear off and we realised what had actually happened.”

Mostert’s face was covered in blood from being hit on the head with the gun.

Gardmed owner Dave Gardner said his blood went cold when he heard the cries for help over the ambulance radio.

“I immediately sent two other ambulances to assist them but by that stage they were already en route to Dora Nginza Hospital with the patient,” he said.

Gardner said despite the robbery, he would still send ambulances into high risk areas to assist people who need medical attention.

“Obviously we are all very shocked that this happened and I am going to have to reassess how we are going to deal with emergency call outs to certain areas,” he stressed. “It is unfortunate but we have to devise strategies to ensure our staff are kept safe while at work.”

Police spokesman Captain Stanley Jarvis said that two cases of armed robbery and assault with the intention of doing grievous bodily harm was under investigation.