TWO Gardmed medics and a critically ill woman were held at gunpoint and robbed during an emergency call- out in Zwide yesterday.
Medics Renier Mostert, 34, and Heather McLeod, 23, were threatened with their lives while attempting to stabilise a diabetic who had collapsed in her Mahakana Street home shortly after midnight.
The visibly traumatised medics said yesterday that throughout the ordeal their primary concern was to get the woman to hospital.
"On arrival at the address, we went into the house and 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 [Mostert] stayed with the woman to check her vitals.”
McLeod said when she returned to the ambulance, she was confronted by three gunmen.
Mostert, who had been sitting inside the ambulance with the back door open at the time, saw a gun come past his head and grabbed it.
"I didn’t know what was happening,” he said. "All I remember is seeing the gun and I instinctively grabbed it.
"I pushed it down as I thought that if a shot was going to go off, it would either hit me or the vehicle.
"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 the blow, Mostert looked up and saw a gun pointed at him and another aimed at McLeod’s head. "I knew if we put up a fight, we would lose,” he said.
"The robbers made it clear they would shoot us if we resisted.
"The men started going through the bags and opened the ambulance front door before demanding our cellphones and money.
"They rummaged through our stuff before running down the road. As they were running away, I jumped over the front seats and grabbed the radio to call for help.”
Mostert and McLeod said that throughout the robbery their main concern had been for the diabetic woman’s safety. "The patient was in a critical condition and it was vital for us to get her to hospital as quickly as possible,” Mostert said.
"Only after we arrived at the hospital did the shock wear off and we realised what had actually happened.” His face was covered in blood from being pistol-whipped.
Gardmed owner Dave Gardner said his blood had gone cold when he heard the calls 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.”
Gardner said despite the robbery, he would still send ambulances into high-risk areas to assist people who needed medical attention. "I am going to have to reassess how we deal with emergency call-outs to certain areas.
"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 police were investigating a case of armed robbery and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.