Sipho died on Monday afternoon after he apparently received an electric shock while playing behind a shanty located in the yard of his grandpartent’s home
THE FAMILY of a Greenpoint toddler, who died after apparently receiving an electric shock, said that emergency medical services failed to come to the aid of the child and that they intend taking legal action against the Northern Cape Department of Health.
The family of 20-month-old Sipho Mocholo claimed that they made several phone calls asking for an ambulance to be sent out to the scene but they never received any medical assistance.
Sipho died on Monday afternoon after he apparently received an electric shock while playing behind a shanty located in the yard of his grandpartent’s home.
Sipho’s cousin, who rushed to assist him, said that they heard the toddler wailing outside while he and others were watching television inside the shanty.
“We were watching television inside the shanty and Sipho was playing at the back. The little children usually love to play behind the shanty. The next moment we heard Sipho crying and we rushed outside. We saw him standing on one of the loose zinc plates and he was holding onto the window frame and he was shaking. I tried to pull him away from the frame but felt an electric shock running through my body. My brother then kicked Sipho off the zinc and I grabbed him as he fell from the zinc plate. We then rushed him inside the house and an ambulance was called,” said the youngster.
Although the family pointed out the scene of the incident, there was no indication of any electrical wiring that could explain how the incident transpired.
The family was also not sure how the incident occurred.
Sipho’s grandfather, Potsane Mocholo, said that they made several calls to emergency services to assist the toddler.
“We carried the child outside the house in order for him to get some air. We could feel on his neck that he still had a pulse. We frantically called for an ambulance. Someone on the other end of the line picked up the call but did not answer and immediately put the receiver back on the hook again. One could hear that the phone was picked up as we could hear background noise, but the person was not saying a word.
“At first I thought it was a network problem, however, after several attempts I noticed that this was a deliberate act. Other people also called but the same thing happened to them,” said Mocholo.
He said that they then tried to call the police.
“We then called the police station but their phone also just kept ringing. We then resorted to calling 10111 and were directed to a line at the police again. We explained the situation and that we were in desperate need of medical assistance.
“As we waited, a fire department bakkie drove past and we stopped it. The man inside saw the situation and we told him what had happened. He then told us to use a private vehicle and rush the child to the hospital. One of our neighbours availed his car and we drove towards the hospital.”
He said they were met by an EMS rescue bakkie in Hercules Street.
“The driver of the rescue bakkie told us that he was on his way to us. We told him the child was inside the car. He then got into the car and looked at the child. He went to fetch his stethoscope and listened to the heartbeat of the child. He said he had bad news but indicated that we must follow him as we had to rush the child to the hospital.”.
Mocholo claimed that the treatment they received from the doctor, who had examined the toddler, after their traumatic experience was “very rude”.
“The doctor did not have any compassion for the situation we found ourselves in. She was carrying on about the child not being dressed and was making rude utterances. She only later told us that the child had died and spoke in a decent manner and told us to complete the paperwork.”
Mocholo’s neighbour, and the owner of the car used to rush the toddler to hospital, Stefaan Roberts, said that he was one of the people who had tried in vain to get hold of emergency services.
“I called the ambulance at about 4.16pm and after a few seconds made another call when the receiver was put down by the person on the other end. There were a lot of people calling but none of us were able to get through. I called 10111 at 4.20pm after several calls made to the ambulance failed,” said Roberts.
“If an ambulance was sent out in time, I am certain the child would have survived because he was still breathing when we put him inside the car.
“The saddest part of this ordeal was that there were about four ambulances parked at the hospital when we arrived It is heartbreaking that people first have to die to be assisted,” said Roberts.
Police spokesperson Captain Olebogeng Tawana said that the police are investigating the claims.
“The police management in the Northern Cape has noted the allegations regarding delayed police response to an electrocution incident in Greenpoint. An internal probe will be launched regarding this allegation. However, this office can confirm that the 10111 centre in Kimberley received an emergency call yesterday (Monday) and they dispatched a police vehicle to the scene.
“In a case where community members are not pleased or satisfied with the service received from the police in Kimberley, they can contact the Frances Baard Cluster Commander,” added Tawana.
The spokesperson for the provincial Department of Health, Leboganag Majaha, said they will also investigate the matter.
“We are not aware of the incident. We will, however, institute an investigation into the allegations made. The MEC, Mase Manopole, conveys her sincere condolences to the family,” said Majaha.