A 59-year-old Durban woman was robbed and injured badly by the criminals. Another painful part of the story is that she had to wait for several hours for the ambulance to arrive.
Geraldine Baker, the victim lay huddled in a corner at a public toilet for hours, waiting for an ambulance to take her to hospital.
She broke her leg when she was robbed while walking on the beachfront on Saturday afternoon.
She apparently had R400 on her when she was accosted by a group of men.
An eyewitness with the help of a security guard called for an ambulance.
The guard reportedly radioed in the incident to his superintendent so he could call an ambulance.
A private security company guard and a lifeguard helped keep the injured woman comfortable while they waited for an ambulance.
Fed up with having to wait for an ambulance, the policewoman went to Addington Hospital where she managed to track down paramedics.
Minutes later, the policewoman arrived at the scene with an ambulance.
Baker was stabilised by paramedics before being taken to Addington.
“Medical professionals take a Hippocratic Oath to serve others. This woman spent the night in the cold, wind and rain without being helped. It is just sad,” said the eyewitness.
Sam Mkhwanazi, a Department of Health spokesperson, said they noted with concern this “regrettable incident” and acknowledged it took 18 hours for Baker to get help.
“A call was made at 18h05 on September 16 by a caller who was allocated a case number 438 from the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) call centre. An ambulance (KZN 24213A45) was dispatched at 19.35 from the Wentworth EMS base, and was in the vicinity of the Durban Country Club at 20:01.
“Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication and the ambulance crew was looking for Mugg & Bean instead of Bike & Bean,” Mkhwanazi said.
He said on the day, weather conditions were adverse, “which might have made it difficult for the crew, patient, or the people assisting the patient to see each other”.
“The incident is highly regretted and the department would like to apologise to the patient, her relatives, friends and the public.”
Baker has been discharged from hospital.