Father arrested for punching medic while driving son to hospital in Potchefstroom
Yet another paramedic has come under attack while conducting their duties as a first responder, this time, in the North West town of Potchefstroom. In recent weeks, paramedics in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg have come under attack by members of the community, leading to heightened danger for medics. In the latest incident in Potchefstroom, which happened on Monday night, 1 July 2019, a motorist had crashed into a house, almost causing a structural collapse. ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said the motorist's father, attacked the paramedic as they drove his son to the hospital.
The father, Daniel Ellis, 53, had been seated on the front seat in the ambulance when he started allegedly attacking the driver with his fists. “This incident occurred after ER24 personnel were called to an incident on Paul Street in Potchefstroom at 19h25 after a bakkie had crashed through a fence and into a residence.
“On arrival, medics found a bakkie smashed through the kitchen area of the residence. A man, believed to have been in his 20s, was found lying trapped inside the vehicle,” said Meiring. Meiring said fire services were called to the scene to extricate the man from the vehicle. He said once the patient had been freed, he was treated for his injuries and transported to hospital.
But once on the way to hospital, Ellis, the father of the young driver, allegedly attacked the paramedic as they drove towards hospital. “Without warning (he) punched the ER24 medic in the face and immediately attempted to grab the steering wheel. Using the situational and self-awareness training received from ER24, the medic was able to defend himself from further attacks by managing to pull the vehicle over safely and remove himself from the situation,” said Meiring.
He said the father fled, jumping into a bakkie that had been following the ambulance. “The ER24 medics continued their care of the patient before resuming their transportation to the private hospital. Once the patient had been handed over to the hospital staff, the medic was assessed by a doctor before reporting the case to the Potchefstroom Police,” he said.
“We are glad that our medics did not sustain any serious harm during the incident. We urge members of the public to report any incident to the local authorities.
North West police spokesperson, Colonel Amanda Funani confirmed the incident and said Ellis was arrested and charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. He appeared in the Potchefstroom Magistrates Court where the prosecution provisionally withdrew the charges in court. Police have been asked to investigate the matter further by the prosecution, said Funani.