Ambos backflip on ‘violent mob’ attack claim
THE union that said a dying man's family stopped paramedics from saving his life has released a damning apology.
It comes after the 25-year-old Hamze Ibrahim died outside a home in Sydney's south on Sunday morning after suffering a cardiac arrest.
The Australian Paramedics Association (APA) released a statement shortly after, saying paramedics had been attacked by an "irate" mob of "angry males" who prevented them from saving Mr Ibrahim's life.
Mr Ibrahim's relatives said their pain had been amplified by "reckless and unfounded" comments, which were "devoid of compassion" and essentially blamed them for his death.
Today, the union said the statement should not have been published.
"APA (NSW) acknowledges that any statement in the previous media release to the effect that Mr Ibrahim's family members either contributed or were in any way responsible for his death is wholly incorrect and should not have been published," the statement reads.
"Likewise, APA (NSW) further acknowledges that at no time did Mr Ibrahim's family members obstruct or threaten paramedics while they were administering medical assistance to Mr Ibrahim.
"Unfortunately, despite doing everything that they could, paramedics were unable to revive Mr Ibrahim.
"APA (NSW) deeply regrets publishing its previous media release and unreservedly apologises for any grief, embarrassment or distress it caused to family members of Mr Ibrahim."
Emergency services were called to Riverwood in Sydney's south on Sunday morning, where Mr Ibrahim was in cardiac arrest after - what the union claimed was a suspected drug overdose. However, the family said he was suffering from sleep apnoea.
The APA alleged that up to 80 "angry males" gathered at the unit and allegedly threatened the health workers and charged at a female paramedic, injuring her shoulder and leaving the four others "shaken up".
APA secretary Steve Pearce claimed paramedics were allegedly forced to barricade themselves inside the unit as the violent mob demanded a defibrillator and drugs believing they could treat the young man.
Mr Ibrahim died at the scene.
The paramedics union lashed out at the family's behaviour, saying it was "stupidity" that cost him his life.
"Paramedics were forced to fend off angry males who eventually forced them to stop treating the patient who was in cardiac arrest and subsequently died," Mr Pearce said in a statement.
"We had the outrageous situation where a violent mob demanded paramedics hand over a defibrillator and drugs, saying they would treat the patient."
The family was upset and the scene "escalated", the union secretary added.
However, in a statement issued through a law firm, Mr Ibrahim's family said their pain had been "unnecessarily amplified by the self-serving, reckless and unfounded" comments from the union.
"The inaccurate comments made on behalf of the association, which, in essence, blames the family for the death of Mr Ibrahim, are totally devoid of compassion and empathy," the statement said.
Mr Ibrahim's relatives said he did not take drugs.
About 18 police officers attended the scene to assist the paramedics at about 7.45am on the day Mr Ibrahim died.
However, the APA's statement shortly after claimed more than 150 police officers were called to the scene.
The union was forced to clarify this later and said the actual number of police officers at the scene was closer to 20.
"On this occasion the stupidity of these people have taken the life of their family member," Mr Pearce said in the statement which the union has now been forced to apologise for.
"We don't want any more people to face the horrifying situation of their loved ones dying because paramedics are unable to treat patients after threats of violence.
"Paramedics are being subjected to this type of aggression all too often and it is time those who think it is acceptable to attack paramedics woke up to themselves.
"This just has to stop and we need more intervention by police much earlier to make sure our paramedics and our patients are safe.
"Those who think it is acceptable to stop paramedics while they are trying to save a life ought to consider the consequences of their actions."
Raed Rahal, a partner at Cambridge Law, said the Ibrahim family thanked the paramedics for their efforts in attempting to help Mr Ibrahim.
"Mr Ibrahim should be remembered for the fun loving, caring and family driven man that he was," he said.
"We ask that the memory of Mr Ibrahim be respected and that his family be allowed to grieve his passing in private."