Immediate and available emergency medical assistance during holiday break
The Western Cape Department of Health is deeply appreciative of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and their contributions throughout the holiday break. As this long weekend demonstrated, these services assisted many patients who required emergency medical assistance at critical moments, helping them to reach a hospital on time and thus saving their lives.
The EMS responded to 10 245 incidents, of which 32% involved life-threatening incidents. This ranged from those hikers that needed to be rescued from Table Mountain, to the 123 pedestrians who suffered injuries. Our paramedics were again the first to treat patients at the scene before transporting them to hospital for further treatments.
Unfortunately, most of the incidents attended to by the EMS involved weapon assaults, which ranged from knife stab wounds to gun violence. For further treatment, many patients were transported to the Tygerberg, Worcester and Groote Schuur Hospitals.
EMS personnel received complaints for chest pains (1 802), weapon assaults (1 270), respiratory complaints (934), physical assaults (739), and obstetric complains (628).
The EMS, with an escort from the South African Police Service (SAPS), attended to several incidents in neighbourhoods, including Beacon Valley (75), Tafelsig (78), Hanover Park (47) and Chicago (16). The EMS remains appreciative of the South African Police Services’ (SAPS) ongoing support, as this helps protect our crews to care for the most vulnerable patients.
On the busy roads, the EMS responded to 237 transport-related incidents, 123 involving pedestrians, 97 involving light motor vehicles, 10 involving motor cyclists, four involving minibus taxis, and three involving cyclists.
From 00h00 on Friday morning to 10h00 on Wednesday (today), 4 799 trauma cases presented to 41 emergency centres (ECs) across the province linked to our Hospital Emergency Centre Triage and Information System (HECTIS) system. (Please note that not all ECs are linked to the HECTIS system). Trauma related breakdown at these 41 facilities included:
- 1 174 stabbings
- 1 099 blunt assaults
- 225 motor-vehicle related injuries and 183 pedestrian related injuries
- 67 gunshot wounds
- 1 127 accidental injuries and 113 self-harm injuries
Our hospitals and 24-hour community health centres (CHC) are geared for the increase in expected cases over the new year’s weekend, although most of the trauma cases are preventable.
Most of the reported trauma cases were seen within the Cape Metro at facilities such as Delft CHC (228), Kraaifontein CHC (227), Worcester Hospital (226), Paarl Hospital (217), Khayelitsha Hospital (210), Gugulethu CHC, Mitchells Plain Hospital (168), Gugulethu CHC (207) and Elsies River CHC (193).
In addition to these trauma cases, we also treated another 11 148 patients coming for non-trauma related health care at our ECs, bringing the total number of patients seen at our ECs to 16 636.
As 2022 draws to a close, the EMS requests all road users to play their part by always practicing good road safety habits. Please be alert, be considerate, and be especially careful around vulnerable road users – children, older people, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Dial 10177 or 0860 142 142 in case of an emergency.