‘It was an ab­so­lute dis­grace’

Elderly man’s fam­ily fum­ing af­ter eatery al­legedly or­ders am­bu­lance re­moved from lawn

Weekend Witness - - News - NOKUTHULA KHANYILE

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

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