Boy left brain dead after KZN health MEC commandeers air ambulance
KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo apparently commandeered an air ambulance, delaying an injured teenager's arrival at a Durban hospital, according to a report.
The Sunday Tribune newspaper reported that Asheen Maharaj, 15, was left brain dead following a car crash last Saturday near Pinetown. His parents, Ashnee and Ashwin, and sister Asheena, were killed.
"The boy was in a bad way and we had done everything we could for him," the paramedic who treated him, and did not want to be named, was quoted as saying.
"Taking him immediately to Inkosi Albert Luthuli [hospital in Durban] would have helped his chances of survival.
"The road trip takes more than half an hour. We wanted to get him there as soon as possible, so we called for the helicopter. We were told it was not available because the health MEC was using it, but they would send the air ambulance from Richards Bay."
Maharaj was taken to hospital by road because the Richards Bay helicopter would have taken an hour to arrive.
Dhlomo told the newspaper he was a medical doctor and could use the helicopter as he saw fit. He would not say what he had used it for.
KwaZulu-Natal health department spokesman Desmond Motha told the Sunday Tribune: "We need to indicate that even the one helicopter that had the MEC on board was readily available to assist should it have been summoned, and the MEC would have been at hand to treat the patient."