‘It was an absolute disgrace’
Elderly man’s family fuming after eatery allegedly orders ambulance removed from lawn
THE daughter of a Kloof octogenarian, Jerry Naicker, who has been at a centre of an online fracas with Midlands restaurant Piggly Wiggly, has described the treatment meted out to her sickly father as an “absolute disgrace”.
The renowned Midlands Meander eatery came under fire on social media this week with several customers threatening to boycott the establishment.
Loshini Lawrence spoke to Weekend Witness following an incident where the owner of Piggly Wiggly allegedly objected to the presence of an ambulance on the front lawns after her father had collapsed and ordered paramedics to move the vehicle before treating him.
The online furore erupted following a Google Review posted by Michelle Manicum, who had witnessed the alleged incident.
The review was also posted on Facebook and has since gone viral.
Rudi Kassier, owner of Piggly Wiggly, referred Weekend Witness to his attorney, Petrus Coetzee, who told Weekend Witness that his clients “categorically deny the distortion of the truth that Cindy [Kassier’s wife] was more concerned about the grass than the health and safety of the patron”.
“She was concerned about the safety of children who were playing on the grass,” said Coetzee.
He also stressed that the patient was not denied medical care and in fact was treated at the scene.
He confirmed that the version Kassier gave to other media was “100% accurate”.
In these reports, Kassier is quoted as saying his wife had “no bad intentions” and did not prevent the ambulance or medics from performing their duties.
He said the ambulance drove onto a grassy area in the middle of the public area where lots of children were playing. Being a “caring mother”, his wife was concerned about the safety of the chil- Jerry Naicker being attended to by paramedics after fainting at Midlands eatery Piggly Wiggly. His family claim the owner refused to let paramedics bring their ambulance onto the lawn where he collapsed, and said he was eventually treated while seated on a pile of scrap wood. dren.
He said if they had been notified about the ambulance being called they could have arranged a safe entry point.
He is further quoted as saying after the ambulance left and a paramedic walked past his wife, she had “concern- edly” asked him how the patient was. His reply was it was none of her business.
Kassier is quoted as saying his wife followed the paramedic to tell him he was impolite and “this is when the family members then came and said they would put this on social media”. Retired businessman Jerry Naicker who is at a centre of an online fracas around Piggly Wiggly. Netcare 911 spokesperson Shawn Herbst confirmed paramedics were called to the eatery. However, he declined to comment on what happened, stating that they were still waiting for a full report from the paramedics who attended the scene.
Recalling the alleged incident yesterday, Lawrence said her family were visiting the restaurant on Christmas Eve, when her 82-year-old father collapsed.
He had been sitting on a bench and watching his grandchildren on the miniature stream train.
“My daughter immediately called an ambulance while we were trying to resuscitate him with the help of a paediatrician who was one of the patrons,” said Lawrence.
She said when the paramedics arrived, the owner started running towards the tractor at the entrance and informed them they were not allowed to enter the establishment.
Lawrence claimed the owner then obstructed the ambulance from reaching her father and said that the vehicle was not allowed to drive over the grassy area.
“Another paramedic pleaded with the owner to allow the team to see my dad. She didn’t even know what was happening.”
She said paramedics had to find an alternative spot away from the lawn to treat her father.
Meanwhile, while one paramedic attended to her father, the ambulance had to drive out of Piggly Wiggly and use another entry point.
Lawrence said it took about 15 minutes for the vehicle to get to her father.
“My dad couldn’t walk. Meanwhile, she [the owner] was screaming at the paramedics and telling them they had no right to be on her property.
“We had to find a way to get my dad to walk around and we found a pile of wood behind another store next to the toilets and my dad was treated.”
Lawrence said her family all watched in horror as the events unfolded.
“The paramedics were with my dad for about 10 minutes. They performed an electrocardiography on him and he had to be put on a drip. His blood pressure was over 250 … he was on a brink of a stroke. The paramedics were panicking and wanted to get him to the hospital quickly.”
Naicker was taken to Midlands Medical Centre and later that night had to be transferred to the Life Ntabeni Hospital in Durban. He was discharged on Wednesday. Lawrence said her family were in the Midlands to scout for a venue for a wedding celebration.
She said the estate on which Piggly Wiggly is situated was one of their nominated venues.
“She [the owner] just ruined her own business opportunity. She forgot we were guests and dealt with us in a very rude way.
“I’ve been out of the country for 20 years now and you don’t expect to receive this kind of treatment for any reason,” she added. • [email protected]dia24.com