Media releases

Emergency service leaves nothing to chance this Easter

Emergency service leaves nothing to chance this Easter

Monday, March 26 2018

As South Africans take to the roads to their vacation destinations or to visit family and loved ones over this Easter holiday season, emergency services provider Netcare 911 has announced that it has embarked on a project to upgrade the design of its ambulances ahead of the holiday season in order to further improve the safety of its patients, other road users and its emergency services personnel.

Pic: Emergency services provider Netcare 911 has embarked on a project to upgrade the design of its ambulances ahead of the holiday season in order to further improve the safety of its patients, other road users and its emergency services personnel. Most of the changes to these new vehicles have to do with further improving their visibility on the roads.

“Netcare 911 will once again be mobilising its full complement of personnel and emergency vehicles to assist South Africans around the country in the unfortunate event that they have a medical emergency,” says Shalen Ramduth, director of business development and support services at Netcare 911.

According to Ramduth, most of the changes to the vehicles have to do with improving their visibility on the roads. “Time is of the essence in a medical emergency and it is therefore critical for our ambulances to get to the scene as rapidly as possible. To achieve this safely, other road users need to be aware of, and to give way to, these emergency vehicles. We have consequently added additional warning lights to the vehicles.”

The brand new ambulances, seven of which have already been delivered to Netcare 911, have been fitted with a large protective bull-bar, as well as floodlights that can be used to light an accident or other emergency scene where this may be necessary, especially at night.

“The siren units have been fitted on to the bullbar for maximum audio benefit to road users, so that the ambulance siren can be heard from a distance. Additional LED cluster lights have been added to the bullbar at a 45 degree angle to enhance visibility through intersections.”

Ramduth says that Netcare 911 uses purpose-built Volkswagen T6s to meet its exacting ambulance requirements. “Nothing is left to chance in the design of these vehicles, which are equipped with the latest in emergency medical, navigation and communication technologies.”

“The ambulance has a large cabin area, which gives our emergency services personnel plenty of space in which to care for their patients efficiently and ensures maximum patient comfort during transport. The VW T6 also offers excellent stability, occupant safety, reliability and performance. All of our new vehicles will be developed to the new design specifications,” observes Ramduth.

“We are at all times looking to ensure that the patients in our care are provided with the highest quality and safest emergency medical care. We will, as always, be on high alert over this holiday season. Should you find yourself in a position where people are in need of urgent medical attention please do not hesitate to call us on 082 911,” concludes Ramduth.


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact:              Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney and Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:, or  


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Netcare Renews Comrades Sponsorship

Netcare 911 and Netcare remain the official emergency medical services providers to the Comrades Marathon

Thursday, March 22 2018

Netcare 911 and Netcare will remain the official emergency medical services and hospital services providers to the Comrades Marathon for another four years. The leading private healthcare provider group has been supplying their state of the art health services to The Ultimate Human Race since 2004.

In terms of the agreement, Netcare will continue to provide a hospital medical service to all athletes on race day. The referral hospital before halfway will be St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg while St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban will serve as the referral hospital after halfway.

Netcare 911 will provide the pre-hospital medical rescue service to all Comrades participants who require pre-hospital emergency medical attention. Netcare will operate a fleet of vehicles, manned by qualified paramedics and medical personnel available on race day, including:

  • 16 ambulances
  • 5 rapid response cars
  • 4 rapid response motorcycles
  • 1 medical helicopter

A team of medical personnel will also be stationed at the Finish Venue.

Comrades Marathon Association General Manager, Chris Fisher said, “Our association with Netcare is based on strong mutual values that put the runner at the heart of everything we do. We are extremely pleased to announce the continuation of this long and fruitful partnership that the CMA shares with Netcare. We know, that with Netcare, ‘you’re in safe hands.’”

Netcare 911’s Managing Director, Craig Grindell says,   “We look forward to continue partnering with the Comrades Marathon and building on our long-standing relationship. We would like to assure the thousands of runners in this iconic race that their well-being is our priority, in line with Netcare and Netcare 911’s commitment to delivering world-class medical care. Our experienced personnel will be out in full force along the route and at the finish, and our Netcare hospitals will be fully geared to provide further medical care to those who may need it.”

The 2018 Comrades Marathon will start outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05h30 on Sunday, 10 June 2018 and finish 12 hours later at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.


Statement issued by the Comrades Marathon Association’s Media Officer Delaine Cools on Wednesday, 14 March 2018

For an interview, please contact:

  • CMA General Manager, Chris Fisher on 071 883 6919
  • Netcare’s Head of Business Development Support Services, Ruben Naidoo on 082 470 0828
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Stay safe during approaching holidays, Netcare 911 urges road users

Emergency medical services provider ready to assist over busy holiday period

Tuesday, March 20 2018

The first school holidays of the year coupled with an extra-long weekend signals a busy time on South African roads in the weeks ahead, but travellers can be reassured that Netcare 911 is ready to provide emergency medical care where the need arises.

“From our experience in previous years, we know that this is an especially busy time on our roads and this, unfortunately, often leads to an increase in the number of tragic road accidents,” says Shalen Ramduth, Netcare 911’s director: business development and support services.

Netcare 911 has bolstered its resources with ambulances, advanced life support response vehicles and emergency care practitioners along the N3 highway between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal during this busy holiday period. It is hoped that in addition to being ready to provide prompt emergency medical and rescue assistance to the public where needed, the high-visibility of the Netcare 911 team will help to keep road safety top-of-mind among road users.

“Every motorist has a role to play in helping to make South Africa’s roads safer over this time by following reasonable safety precautions and displaying courteous driving behaviour. If we all take a few simple measures when travelling, it is possible to reduce the number of accidents and ensure that more people reach their destinations without incident and return safely after their holidays.”

Two major contributors to road accidents are driver fatigue and drunk driving, which are preventable.

“Drivers need to be mentally alert and in good physical condition when embarking on a road trip, and stop at least every two hours for a break to refresh themselves so that they do not become fatigued, which can impair driving ability,” Ramduth advises.

“Drinking and driving is highly irresponsible and we urge the public not to drive while intoxicated or travel with a driver who is under the influence.

“One of the most dangerous things about alcohol is that it can stimulate people to take unnecessary risks without them realising that their judgment and coordination are impaired. Alcohol often creates a sense of confidence, so that people under the influence mistakenly believe that they are fully in control and able to drive.”

Ramduth urges drivers to ensure that their vehicle is roadworthy and equipped with a spare tyre that is in good repair, basic tools, a reflective triangle and first aid kit.

Netcare 911 urges road users to follow these basic safety tips:

  • Always ‘buckle up’: ensure that the driver and passengers are wearing seat belts and children are properly secured in safety seats at all times during a journey.
  • Get adequate quality sleep before setting off on your journey.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before and during the journey.
  • Stop and take a break from driving at least every two hours.
  • If you are feeling tired, stop at a safe place and stretch your legs – wait for at least ten minutes before getting back in the car as you need to ensure that you are properly refreshed – or take a nap if you are still tired.
  • Keep the temperature in your car cool, since a warmer interior encourages sleepiness.
  • Make a point of checking blind spots and ‘reading’ road conditions such as watching out for potholes or a slippery surface in rainy weather, as well as oncoming and rear traffic – do not simply keep your eye on the vehicle ahead of you. Also watch out specifically for pedestrians and cyclists near or on the road.
  • Do not use your cell phone while driving, rather allow your passengers to SMS, tweet and take photographs for you.
  • Ensure a safe following distance of at least three seconds from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Stay calm and extend your following distance between erratic and aggressive drivers.

“The importance of a first aid kit is often overlooked and sometimes the contents of the kits have expired. It is therefore essential to check the contents of your first aid kit regularly and replace any expired or damaged contents,” he adds.

Checklist of items for your first aid kit:

  • Sterile medical gloves
  • Cotton wool
  • A digital thermometer
  • Two medical eye patches
  • Burnshield dressing
  • A variety of bandages and plasters as well as sterile gauze
  • Antiseptic wipes and liquid
  • A space blanket
  • Safety pins, scissors, tweezers
  • Paracetamol tablets and syrup

“Before setting off on your journey, it is advisable to do some research to obtain current information about the route that you are planning to take, including any roadworks or detours you will encounter. Getting lost or disorientated, especially when tired, can cause a driver to become distracted which could lead to an accident.”

Ramduth offers the following advice when reporting an emergency: “Dial 082 911. When the call is answered, begin by stating ‘I have an emergency…’. Give your name and contact number clearly so that we will the means to contact you. Immediately state whether it is a life-threatening situation and be specific about the nature of your emergency. Give your exact location and the physical address or location where the individuals requiring assistance can be found.”

Technology is also making it easier to call for assistance in the case of an emergency, and a partnership between Netcare 911 and mySOS emergency mobile application is helping emergency medical practitioners to pinpoint the location of people requiring their assistance. 

In an emergency, the mySOS app sends an alert to Netcare 911’s national emergency operations centre, and your selected loved ones to show them your GPS location. The app also makes a phone call to Netcare 911, so that assistance is mobilised in the shortest possible time. The mySOS app can be downloaded for free from

“It is always our hope that there will not be any accidents, and that by drawing attention to road safety matters we can contribute to many preventable accidents being avoided. Nonetheless, Netcare 911’s dedicated emergency care practitioners will be on full alert and ready to assist in case of any medical emergency that may arise,” Ramduth concludes.


Issued by:           MNA on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney orMeggan Saville 
Email:         , or 


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Hospital’s community outreach project to support local hospice patients

Hospital’s community outreach project to support local hospice patients


Monday, January 15 2018

A new year brings with it the promise of fresh beginnings and, for many, it also provides new opportunities to bring about positive change in the lives of others.

It was with this in mind that the management and staff members at Netcare N1 City Hospital in Cape Town set about exploring how they could make a meaningful contribution to the local community through its 2018 community outreach initiatives.

“We wanted our community outreach programme to have maximum positive impact and be sustainable. After much research and planning we consequently elected to support the Tygerberg Hospice, which has played a critical role within our community for many years,” says Ms Marilyn Lameyer, regional radiation therapy manager - Western Cape about Netcare N1 City Hospital’s staff members’ generous contribution towards the project.

The Tygerberg Hospice, situated in Bellville, Cape Town, provides post-acute, rehabilitative as well as end-of-life care to patients including comprehensive assessments, care planning, active therapy and treatment. The vision of the facility is to provide in-patient transitional care that enables patients to regain skills and abilities to support them with daily living after they are discharged.

Lameyer says that Tygerberg Hospice has a strong patient-centric ethos and places a considerable emphasis on patient care. “This echoes Netcare’s core values, with which the hospice shares a number of synergies. Tygerberg Hospice is undertaking wonderful work, and we consider it a most worthy recipient of our support,” he adds.

According to Lameyer, staff members from the hospital visited the hospice prior to the holidays to hand over gifts to the patients and provide them with some festive cheer. She says that the hospital and its staff members will continue to lend support to Tygerberg Hospice in the form of donations, visits, gifts and in any other way it is able to.

“We trust that we will have a long and fruitful relationship with Tygerberg Hospice and hope to assist in providing their staff and management with the support they need to continue the excellent work that they do for their patients and their families,” concludes Dr van Wyk, general manager at Netcare N1 City Hospital who fully supports this project.

Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare N1 City Hospital

Contact:              Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw

Telephone:          (011) 469 3016

Email:        ,, or

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Mandini mum thrilled to take home baby born three months prematurely

Parents and doctors feared for baby Thabisile’s life

Monday, January 15 2018

A mother from Mandini in KwaZulu-Natal is overjoyed to be able to take her baby son home from a North Coast hospital, having feared for her little boy’s life when he was born prematurely late in September last year.

Mom Thabisile Zama Zungu and dad Buhle Mavuso were a picture of happiness as doctors and staff at Netcare Alberlito Hospital gathered to bid farewell to the family, including baby Nkosinathi Mavuso, last Friday.

Nkosinathi was born three months prematurely, weighing just 920 grams. When he was finally discharged from hospital late last week, he weighed a healthy 2,91 kilograms, according to paediatrician, Dr Strini Chetty, who practises at Netcare Alberlito Hospital and treated Nkosinathi.

“As Nkosinathi was born so prematurely and doctors were initially so concerned for his survival, the first few weeks of his life were very stressful for us as a family,” related Thabisile.

“Nkosinathi had to spend a total of three months in hospital, including over the festive season. We are so happy and grateful to finally take our precious boy home for the first very first time,” she added.

Thabisile said she visited her gynaecologist for a routine six-month consultation on 26 September 2017 and did not expect any problems. An ultrasound investigation however revealed that her baby had moved into a position that indicated that the birth was imminent and she was advised to seek urgent medical attention at a local hospital.

“I was in a state of shock and disbelief to hear that I was going to have to deliver my baby so prematurely; I think it was the saddest moment of my life. Nkosinathi was delivered at 20:05, just hours after we had first received the news,” relates Thabisile.

Thabisile says that doctors at the hospital were concerned that her baby had been born too prematurely to survive, and tried to prepare her for the worst.

Nkosinathi, however, proved to be a survivor and two weeks after his birth he was transferred to the Netcare Alberlito Hospital neonatal intensive care unit under the care of the highly experienced Dr Chetty. He visited Thabisile twice before arranging the little boy’s ambulance transfer to Netcare Alberlito Hospital neonatal intensive care unit on 9 October 2017.

“We are most grateful to Dr Chetty and the nursing staff at the neonatal intensive care unit for the passion and care they showed to my son and I, as well as for their ongoing support. I would also like to thank the management team at the hospital for providing me with accommodation at no charge to use as and when I needed to be close to Nkosinathi,” added Thabisile.

According to the hospital’s general manager, Dr Augusta Dorning, the doctors and staff at the facility became very fond of Thabisile and his family while the little boy was cared for at the hospital.

“Thabisile must be one of the smallest babies we have cared for,” observes Dr Dorning. “It was wonderful to see him steadily gather strength, to become the happy bouncing baby he is today, and to reach a point where he was strong enough to be discharged home.

“We are most gratified that we could be of service to this wonderful family and wish them all the very best for the future,” she concludes.


​Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Alberlito Hospital

Contact:              Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, and Pieter Rossouw

Telephone:          (011) 469 3016

Email:         ,,, or

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Joburg man recovering well after suffering a heart attack on holiday

Ballito GP and Netcare 911 paramedics team up for successful resuscitation


Monday, January 15 2018

A Johannesburg man holidaying with his family in the coastal town of Ballito on KwaZulu-Natal’s Dolphin Coast was fortunate that help was at hand to deliver lifesaving care when he suffered a heart attack on New Year’s Day 2018.

Johannes Pieterse, 45, who is now recovering back home, recounts: “On New Year’s Eve, I experienced some chest pain and thought perhaps I had ‘overdone it’ during the festive season. I decided to go for a check-up with Ballito general practitioner, Dr Ryall Hamlyn, and thank goodness I did, or I may not be here today to tell the tale.”

Dr Hamlyn, whose practice is opposite Netcare Alberlito Hospital, says that Mr Pieterse phoned his rooms early on 1 January, asking whether the doctors were consulting on the public holiday and mentioned that he had experienced chest pains the day before.

“When he arrived for the appointment, Mr Pieterse explained that he had angina-like pain for approximately 15 minutes the previous day. Even though he did not have hypertension or unhealthy cholesterol levels, he told me that his father had suffered a stroke at the age of 60, which we consider to be a significant familial risk,” Dr Hamlyn explains.

The doctor performed an electrocardiogram (ECG), which measures electrical activity and muscle function of the heart, which did not register any abnormalities. “The patient was still having mild chest pain, and suspecting the likelihood of acute coronary syndrome, I insisted he have blood tested urgently for cardiac enzymes.  I instructed him to go immediately across the road to Netcare Alberlito Hospital’s Ampath Laboratory.

At this point, Mr Pieterse was resting on a couch in the doctors’ waiting room when suddenly he started gasping for air and collapsed. “I checked his pulse, but there was nothing, and he started turning grey. My wife, who is a registered nurse, and I started performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR] immediately,” Dr Hamlyn recalls.

“My wife phoned the Netcare 911 national emergency operations centre, however another man who was in waiting room had already run across the road to the Netcare 911 base at the hospital to summon assistance and a paramedic crew immediately responded.”

Netcare 911 intermediate life support paramedic, Donny Govender, and basic life support paramedic, Sundheer Singh, took over CPR while Dr Hamlyn briefed them on the patient’s condition. Seconds later, advanced life support paramedic, Shaun Paul, arrived to attend to the critically ill patient.

“Mr Pieterse was in ventricular fibrillation, which is an often-fatal type of heart rhythm disturbance, and his skin was turning blue because his heart was not able pump and circulate oxygenated blood throughout his body. Fortunately, with early intervention and the aid of a defibrillator, we were able to treat this life-threatening condition,” Paul notes.

Paul administered a therapeutic electrical shock, known as defibrillation, and Singh continued CPR as the defibrillator showed that the patient’s heart was now exhibiting pulseless electrical activity (PEA), meaning that a heart rhythm was present but did not produce a pulse, while Govender administered an intravenous fluid challenge.

“Within minutes, Mr Pieterse’s heart developed a good pulse. We intubated the patient and kept him on a ventilator in a medically-induced coma, however his condition had stabilised and we were able to transport him to hospital for further care,” Paul says.

Mr Pieterse was later diagnosed with an inferior myocardial infarction, meaning that one of the main arteries of the heart had become blocked, resulting in a heart attack.

“I woke up in hospital and a stent was inserted to clear and support the artery that was blocked. I am so grateful to Dr Hamlyn and his wife, the man who ran across the road to call the paramedics, and Netcare 911 for their efforts that certainly saved my life. If not for them, I would probably not have lived to see more than the first day of 2018,” says Pieterse.

Dr Hamlyn says: “Having oxygen and emergency equipment at hand, the prompt intervention, including early goal-directed resuscitation and access to appropriate emergency cardiac care that this patient received certainly played an important role in the positive outcome of this case. Saving Mr Pieterse’s life was a great team effort in which everyone did their part. Had he left my office two minutes earlier, he would have died.”

Paul says the patient’s positive outcome was largely attributable to the streamlined ‘chain of survival’ care that Mr Pieterse benefitted from.

“Chain of survival is a principle of emergency cardiac care that includes early recognition of cardiac arrest, activation of appropriate emergency medical services, immediate CPR and early defibrillation, as well as advanced cardiac life support and in-hospital treatment for post-cardiac arrest care.

“We later visited Mr Pieterse in hospital and were delighted to learn that he would soon be discharged. It was a privilege to be part of the team effort that saved his life,” Paul concluded.

Issued by:           MNA on behalf of Netcare 911

Contact:              Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw

Telephone:        (011) 469 3016

Email:       ,, or

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Drowning a year-round problem with statistics peaking in summer

Do not let a careless moment ruin your year-end vacation

Wednesday, December 13 2017

For South Africans summertime spells fun, sunshine and outdoor activities involving watersport and swimming. However, it can unfortunately also be a time fraught with tragedy for those who are inexperienced, unable to swim and who may for some or other reason be vulnerable to drowning.

David Stanton, head of clinical leadership at Netcare 911, asserts that emergency medical services providers such as Netcare 911 tend to receive more calls related to drowning and water-associated emergency incidents during December and January than any other months.

“Our statistics reveal that the greatest percentage of all drowning incidents during the year occur during the peak holiday periods. This is attributable to the high volumes of tourists, both foreign and local, who flock to the beaches during school holidays and over the festive season.”

Figure 1:
Netcare 911’s seasonal drowning statistics for the period October 2016 to September 2017

Figure 2:
Netcare 911’s provincial drowning statistics for the period October 2016 to September 2017

“Incidents of drowning are also significantly higher in the coastal areas than inland during December and January. Looking at data extracted from Netcare 911 for the period 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017, as much as 62% of all drowning incidents occurred during peak summer months. When reviewing statistics for the entire year, coastal areas reflect 55% of all drowning incidents.”

“KwaZulu-Natal saw the highest percentage of drowning incidents during the 12-month period, quite possibly because of the warm weather enjoyed all year round in the province and the fact that holiday makers, often from inland, flock to the coastal regions throughout the year. It is however disconcerting to note that Gauteng is in a close, second position reflecting 31.37% of all drownings,” notes Stanton.

Safety at the beach - tips from Netcare 911

  • Be absolutely vigilant where small children and older individuals are concerned. Keep a watchful eye on children at all times when around water.
  • Swim at beaches where lifeguards are on duty and keep to the specifically demarcated areas designated for safe swimming. For your own safety swim in the areas closest to the lifeguards.
  • Be mindful of warning signs that may indicate dangerous swimming conditions such as strong currents, sharks and other dangerous sea life as well as contaminated water.
  • Please remember that swimming in the ocean, where there is wave action and at times dangerous currents and sea life, is very different from swimming in a pool.
  • Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets or swimming aids to ensure their safety.
  • Be careful not to dive into water where you cannot see the bottom. It is particularly dangerous to dive into the water headfirst as you could very easily injure your neck.
  • Check the weather report before going to the beach. Be careful of lightening in particular and do not enter the water until at least 30 minutes after the thunder and lightening has stopped.
  • Steer clear of the ocean if you notice a choppy current with murky water.
  • If you get pulled out to sea, stay calm and save your energy. Allow the current to carry you for a while and then swim parallel to the shore until such time as you are out of the current. If you cannot swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are safe from the rip current.
  • Do not be ashamed to call for help if you are in trouble. Anyone, even the best swimmers, can run into difficulties at some or other time. It is important to signal for a lifeguard as soon as possible. The best way to do so when swimming in the ocean is to raise your arm as far out of the water as you can and to wave it around. The lifeguards will be with you as soon as they can. In the interim, stay calm and try to tread water, or if possible float on your back, until they reach you.
  • Be mindful of the waves as they are great deal more powerful than you may think. Pay close attention to children and elderly people especially, as wave action can easily result in a loss of footing, even in shallow water.
  • Stay sober at the beach as alcohol will not only impair your judgement, making you less careful, but it will also dehydrate you.
  • Use sunscreen, wear a hat, use an umbrella or a tent for shade and cover yourself up during the hottest time of day, which is generally between 10h00 and 16h00. 
  • Do not make use of a floatation device such as an inflatable bed, boat, noodle and other items unless you can swim properly. If you do go boating ensure that the boat is safe and that you are wearing a lifejacket. Don’t go out so sea unless you have checked the weather conditions.
  • When fishing be careful of walking on slippery rocks in case you lose your footing. Also be mindful of changing tides and rough seas that can knock you off the rocks.

“In any emergency situation the most important thing to do is contact the correct emergency number immediately. Try and memorise the number for emergency services in your area and keep the number saved on your cell phone and close to your landline telephone. In many cases, during the panic of a medical emergency, people cannot remember the correct number or cannot find where they have written it down. Contact Netcare 911 on the national number: 082 911,” he notes.

What to do in the event of drowning

  • Get the victim out of the water as soon as possible, but do not become a victim yourself. Make sure it is safe for you to enter the water first.
  • Handle the victim with care. Many submersion incidents are associated with neck injuries, so keep movement to the back and neck to a minimum.
  • Assess to see if the victim is awake by asking, “Hello can you hear me?”
  • Check for breathing by looking at the chest for no longer than 10 seconds. If the victim is not breathing or not breathing normally (i.e. gasping), call for immediate medical assistance.
  • Call, or have someone call, a recognised medical emergency service provider such as Netcare 911 on 082 911 as soon as possible. Whoever calls for the ambulance must give the dispatcher an accurate location of the incident and a contact number at the scene. Never hang up on the operator and always return to the rescuer to inform them that you have called for help.
  • If the victim is not breathing, immediately start CPR, beginning with chest compressions.  Keep doing CPR at a ratio of 30 chest compressions, and then 2 breaths. 
  • CPR is vital, even if it is an amateur administering it. Keep on doing it until someone who is trained in advanced life support arrives and can take over.
  • All parents should learn how to administer child CPR as it differs from adult CPR. All people can benefit from CPR training – it is not a difficult skill to learn.

According to Stanton, having multiple layers of safety such as a certified safety net, a fence with locked gate, a child-minder and a surface alarm around the pool and spa areas at home or around other open bodies of water can prevent accidents and drowning.

“A basic course in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can make a dramatic difference in the outcome should the skills be applied timeously,” asserts Stanton.

For further information on CPR courses contact the Netcare 911 Faculty of Emergency and Critical Care on 010 209 8911 or visit the Netcare 911 website.


Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:        (011) 469 3016
Email:        ,,  or

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Gated communities can cause emergency workers unnecessary delays

Residential estates encouraged to enable access to paramedics

Tuesday, December 5 2017

Homes situated within residential estates have become a more and more popular option across South Africa. There are, however, some emergency situations when heavily guarded access points to these communities can be more of a hindrance than a help.

Shalen Ramduth, director: business development and support services at emergency medical services provider Netcare 911, says that emergency medical teams do sometimes experience delays at the gates of a residential complex, gated community or business park when security guards insist on being provided with full credentials before they will grant them access.

“While these kinds of tight security procedures are quite understandable and have been put in place to protect residents, time is always of the essence in emergency situations and holdups of this nature can potentially have serious consequences for the patient,” he notes.

Review your access controls
“Netcare 911 consequently strongly recommends that homeowners’ associations and body corporates consider and review their access controls to cater for the possibility of such emergency situations,” advises Ramduth.

“Estates, complexes, gated communities and office parks should put a comprehensive set of protocols in place to enable legitimate emergency services providers such as Netcare 911 easy access in the event of a medical emergency.”

Ramduth says that Netcare 911 is one best known emergency medical services providers in the country, so it is therefore extremely rare for the well branded and equipped Netcare 911 emergency vehicles and ambulances to be prevented or delayed in accessing secured premises.

“A few years ago, however, I personally experienced this kind of situation,” relates the Netcare 911 advanced life support paramedic. “It was extremely frustrating for us as the emergency team, particularly as we knew that a resident of an estate had depended on our urgent assistance for severe chest pain.

“The guards nevertheless insisted that we first prove our identity and tried to contact the homeowner to obtain permission for us to enter. They argued that they were ‘only doing their job’, which of course was the case, but their actions potentially placed a patient at risk.”

Speak to your security company
Ramduth says that once your gated community or complex has established a set of access protocols for emergency services providers, it must take care to effectively relate these protocols to their security company.

“Security staff must be properly trained to know when it is necessary to grant access to an emergency services provider. If guards have concerns about the legitimacy of an ambulance or emergency vehicle, one of them could be asked to accompany the vehicle, rather than delay it at the entrance to an estate,” he advises.

“Security staff should always be adequately trained and be provided with a comprehensive list of emergency contact numbers. They can also be informed that the Netcare 911 national emergency operations centre number can be contacted at any time on 082 911 in the event of a medical emergency,” notes Ramduth.

Helping to facilitate rapid response times
Is there anything the caller or patient themselves can do to enable a quicker paramedic response time? Ramduth says that, if possible, the caller should contact their security company or gate security personnel in order to facilitate immediate access for an ambulance or other emergency response vehicle.

He recommends that residents of residential estates with a medical emergency who require assistance call the Netcare 911 emergency operations centre and do as follows:

  • Give your name and the telephone number you are calling from to the call taker.
  • Provide a brief description of the emergency and circumstances.
  • Be sure to provide the correct address or location of the incident to assist paramedics to get to the scene.
  • Contact, or get someone else to contact, your security company to ensure paramedics are able to access your complex easily.
  • Stay on the line with the call centre operator and listen carefully to their questions and guidance.

“With a bit of advance planning by both the individual and the community, potential delays can be avoided and the best possible outcomes achieved for patients in an emergency situation,” concludes Ramduth.


Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw        
Telephone:        (011) 469 3016
Email:         ,,, or

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Electrician lucky to be alive following severe electric shock

Good Samaritan, two more shocks, and continuum of care save KZN father

Monday, December 4 2017

Twenty-six-year-old electrician Lungani Mbatha is living proof of the critical importance of the continuum of care, also known as the ‘chain of survival’.

Mr Mbatha was working on a construction site near Durban when an unexpected disaster struck. “I have never had a serious electrical shock before, and I can’t remember much of what happened. All I know is that we were busy connecting wires, I shouted out and I don’t remember anything after that until I woke up in Netcare uMhlanga Hospital,” he says.

Pic: Marc van Heerden, general manager of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital who worked as an advanced life support paramedic for over 20 years, says that excellent communication between the Netcare 911 paramedics and the hospital's emergency department played a significant role in Mr Mbatha’s recovery. Pictured with him are (back) advanced life support paramedic, Shaun Paul,  and intermediate life support paramedics, Isaac Pillay and Collin Krishnalall. 

According to Netcare 911 advanced life support paramedic, Shaun Paul, Mr Mbatha owes his life to the streamlined emergency medical care he received, starting with a Good Samaritan who recognised that Mr Mbatha was not breathing and did not have a pulse after he collapsed from the shock then immediately initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), as well as the early activation of emergency medical services (EMS) to attend to Mr Mbatha.

‘Chain of survival’ is a principle of emergency cardiac care, which includes early recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of appropriate EMS, including commencing CPR as soon as possible, early defibrillation, as well as advanced cardiac life support and in-hospital treatment for post-cardiac arrest care.

“The chain of survival certainly made all the difference in this patient’s survival. The early intervention of the bystander, who initiated CPR before paramedics arrived, probably made the difference between life and death for Mr Mbatha. If the Good Samaritan had not started CPR, it is probable that the patient’s heart would not have been in a rhythm that was responsive to treatment,” Paul says.

Physician, Dr Nitin Ghila, who later received and provided treatment to Mr Mbatha in the emergency department of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, explains that the electrical shock caused ventricular fibrillation, a severe disruption of the heart muscles’ natural electrical impulses that control the heartbeat. This resulted in cardiac arrest, as his heart was unable to pump vital oxygenated blood through the body.  

Paul, as well as intermediate life support paramedics, Isaac Pillay and Collin Krishnalall, arrived on the scene three minutes after receiving the call, to find a crowd of anxious on-lookers surrounding Mr Mbatha and the man performing CPR on him. The paramedics immediately took over the resuscitation efforts.

“Using a manual defibrillator, we administered one electric shock and then continued performing chest compressions and ventilations. We had to administer another dose of electric current with the manual defibrillator at a higher setting, and managed to get a pulse,” Paul says.

He commended Pillay and Krishnalall for the level of co-operation between them in delivering life-saving care. “Their actions were synchronised, and they remained focused on establishing a pulse,” Paul adds.

“The patient started to regain consciousness and was rather disoriented, which is not uncommon following resuscitation after a cardiac arrest. His breathing was, however, still laboured and we had to put him in a medically induced coma and intubate him to ensure he was well oxygenated and his airway was maintained prior the journey to hospital.”

Given the nature of Mr Mbatha’s condition, the Netcare 911 team decided that the emergency department at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital was the most appropriate facility to provide him with definitive treatment.  

“Netcare uMhlanga Hospital was deemed appropriate as it has the relevant cardiac expertise to assist a patient with such a medical condition, and we alerted the hospital that we were on our way. The handover was streamlined, and the trauma team knew exactly what to do, so that care could continue seamlessly,” Paul observes.

Dr Ghila recalls that when Mr Mbatha arrived at the hospital, he was on a ventilator and restless but stable. “The pre-hospital care he received was exceptional, and this is of the utmost importance in a medical emergency,” he notes.

“The paramedics and the bystander who initiated CPR certainly helped to save Mr Mbatha’s life. In any resuscitation, time is of the essence, and Mr Mbatha was fortunate that someone was on hand to recognise that he needed CPR and perform it until Netcare 911 arrived to provide definitive treatment.

“Fortunately, we found that the patient sustained no serious burns or fractures in the accident. We have been closely monitoring his heart and he has done very well so far. Mr Mbatha was soon transferred from an intensive care unit to a general ward, and has since been discharged home.”

The general manager of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, Marc van Heerden, recognises the importance of an efficient ‘chain of survival’ for patients faced with an emergency cardiac event.

“Having worked as an advanced life support paramedic for over 20 years, I know that each aspect of the continuum of care is vital to achieving the best possible outcome for a patient. The high level of expertise and excellent communication between the paramedics and our emergency department certainly played a significant role in Mr Mbatha’s recovery,” Van Heerden observes.

Pic: Netcare 911 advanced life support paramedic, Shaun Paul, and intermediate life support paramedics, Isaac Pillay and Collin Krishnalall, attended to Mr Lungani Mbatha, an electrician who suffered cardiac arrest after a severe electric shock. 

Mr Mbatha expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped him in his time of need. “I am so thankful to be here today. To the person who made the call to Netcare 911 and to the man who gave me CPR, I do not remember any of this, but I am told that they helped to keep me alive so I would like to say thank you very, very much. I am so grateful to the paramedics, doctors and nurses, and I would also like to thank Netcare for all the support they have showed me,” Mr Mbatha concluded.  


Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare 911 and Netcare uMhlanga Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:,, or


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Hero award for boy who rescued his twin

Netcare 911 praises 11-year-old Luke for saving brother’s life

Thursday, November 9 2017

Very few 11-year-olds can say that they have saved a person’s life. Without the bravery and presence of mind of young Luke Bridle of Johannesburg, his twin brother David may not have survived his recent near-drowning experience.

“It is very rare to come across a child with the ability to act quickly and sensibly under such stressful and frightening circumstances,” says Craig Grindell, managing director of Netcare 911. “We were so impressed at how Luke helped to save his twin brother’s life that we decided to award him a special Netcare 911 bravery certificate.”

Photo:" Eleven-year-old Luke Bridle has been presented with a bravery certificate from Netcare 911 for helping to save his twin brother’s life. Netcare 911’s regional operations manager: Gauteng South West, Neill Visser (left), and Netcare 911 head of stakeholder relations, Carl de Montille (right), recently presented the certificate to Luke at his school, the Polly Shorts Academy in Weltevredenpark." 

According to the boys’ mother, Shandré Bridle, one afternoon in early September the twins were at home with their child minder who was giving David a bath.

“Our son David is disabled, and is also an epileptic. He and Luke have an extremely special bond and from a young age Luke has learned how he can help David when needed. My husband Brian was travelling at the time and I was driving home when I received a phone call that nearly made my heart stop,” she recalls.

The boys’ child minder had stepped out of the bathroom to fetch a towel when David suddenly had an epileptic seizure in the bathtub.

“His face went under the water and his body went rigid during the seizure, he fell forward and he was drowning in the bath. Thankfully, Luke immediately jumped into the bath to try to get David’s head out of the water. Our child minder came running in but it was very difficult for her and Luke to lift David out of the bath because of the seizure. It frightens me to think of it, but David could have drowned,” Shandré says.

The boys’ father, Brian, explains that, in a flash, Luke pulled the bath plug so that the water could drain out of the bath, however there was still concern that David could have breathed in water during the seizure. “Together the child minder and Luke managed to get him out of the bath and lay him over the woman’s knee so that the water could drain from his mouth. Luke helped to pummel his brother’s back to help expel any remaining fluid from his lungs.”

Luke pressed a panic button to alert the security company, then phoned their mother, who has first aid training, and over the phone she talked him through all the steps of how to check whether his twin was breathing and place him in the recovery position until emergency medical services provider Netcare 911 arrived.

The plucky Luke kept a cool head during the ordeal, and having established that his brother was breathing, did his best to keep David calm by talking to him and reassuring him until the paramedics arrived.

Netcare 911 advanced life support paramedic, Adrian King, who attended to the emergency says he was incredibly impressed at the way in which such a young child had responded to such an emergency situation.

“When we got there, Luke had placed his brother in the proper recovery position and kept checking that he was breathing. He did everything that should have been done, it was truly remarkable for a child of his age.”

King says that even when the paramedics were attending to David, Luke kept a watchful eye on his brother. “You could see he was very concerned. He kept asking if his brother was all right and we reassured him over and over again but he still kept asking ‘Have you checked he is breathing?’ It was very touching to see how devoted he is to his brother, and all his actions demonstrated the close bond they have.”

Fortunately, David made a full recovery after being admitted to Netcare Olivedale Hospital.

Luke was recently presented with a special bravery award from Netcare 911 at the boys’ school, the Polly Shorts Academy in Weltevreden Park. He and David both received Netcare 911 toy ambulance sets as a reminder of the heroic act of brotherly love.


Proud parents Brian and Shandré Bridle with their twin boys, Luke and David. Luke received a special Netcare 911 Hero Award from regional operations manager: Gauteng South West, Neill Visser (left), and Netcare 911 head of stakeholder relations, Carl de Montille (far right), for his bravery in saving his brother David (front) from drowning when he had an epileptic seizure in the bath.

“This little lifesaver is an exemplary example of the importance of keeping a cool head in an emergency situation, as this is the best way to assist someone in their time of need. This is easier said than done, but Netcare 911 is always on hand to offer emergency medical care and guidance in a crisis such as the one these twins faced so bravely,” Grindell concluded.


Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:        (011) 469 3016
Email:         ,, or

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