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No help for city suicide victim

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“My daughter still had a pulse and I could feel her breathing when I placed my finger under her nose.”

A YOUNG city student died while waiting for an ambulance after trying to commit suicide.

Charmbonay Jacobs, 22, was found hanging from a rope in a bedroom in her family home in Club 2000. Although family members succeeded in cutting the rope, Charmbonay died when no ambulance responded to their calls for help.

According to the deceased’s mother, Eunice Jacobs, she called for an ambulance at around 1.50pm on Thursday afternoon (February 27), when they found Charmbonay.

“They told me to call the police, but the ambulance never came, even though she was still breathing,” a distraught Jacobs said.

“My daughter still had a pulse and I could feel her breathing when I placed my finger under her nose.”

Jacobs said that the police arrived within 20 minutes and they went out of their way to contact an ambulance.

“We did not know how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and all the paramedics told us (over the phone) was to turn her on her side. By that time the colour was draining from her hands. That is when she took her last breath . . . my daughter died in my arms.”

Describing the events leading up to the tragedy, Charmbonay’s grandmother, Eunice Lecwidi, said that her granddaughter did not display any signs of depression.

“Charmbonay was a very bright student and spent all her time with her books. She completed a N6 Information Technology course at Moremogolo College and I think she was a bit frustrated as she was waiting to hear whether she was accepted to study Human Resources at Sol Plaatje University.”

She said Charmbonay was playing with her younger sister outside on the day of the incident.

“Her sister went to sleep and we were all under the impression that Charmbonay would also take a nap. She stayed in an outside room and we did not want to disturb her. Fortunately someone knocked on the door of the main house and when my daughter went to open, she peered through a window and saw a piece of rope hanging from the ceiling in the bedroom.”

Lecwidi said that her daughter ran into the bedroom and cut the rope.

The family yesterday indicated that they intend to take legal action against the Department of Health and will also report the matter to the Human Rights Commission for investigation.

Lecwidi added that it was unacceptable for emergency services not to respond to the call.

“My granddaughter could have been alive today if they came. It is their duty to help. While it will not bring her back, we will be taking legal action and also approach the Human Rights Commission. Perhaps it could save someone else’s life.”

The MEC for Health, Mase Manopole, yesterday expressed her sincere condolences to the bereaved family.

“The alleged incident has been noted and will also be investigated.”

Police spokesperson Captain Bashoabile Kale said the Kagisho police had opened an inquest into the death of a 22-year-old woman.

“The deceased had already passed when the police arrived at the scene. The ambulance arrived shortly afterwards and paramedics certified the deceased dead. No CPR was administered by the police who responded to the call,” said Kale.

He added that the police were still awaiting the autopsy results to determine the cause of death.