Going beyond the call of duty

Netcare 911 Carer of the Year 2014 honours selfless paramedics

Thursday, November 27 2014

Nine Netcare 911 paramedics who went the extra mile in assisting people in need were honoured this week at an awards ceremony held in Sunninghill, Johannesburg. These finalists were nominated by doctors, their colleagues, patients, as well as patients' families, for showing compassion to those who needed it the most.

The overall winner of the Netcare 911 Carer of the Year 2014 was basic life support paramedic, Maria Machogo, from the Netcare 911 Welkom base. Machogo was recognised for her act of kindness which substantially improved the personal circumstances of a seriously ill young teenager from an impoverished background.

"Towards the end of September last year, my crew member and I were called to an emergency in Katlwanong Township near Odendaalsrus in the Free State. We found a young teenage boy, who had Down's syndrome and was in poor health, in the care of his grandmother," remembers Machogo.

Machogo was touched by how well cared for the young boy was, despite the limited financial means of his family. She could clearly see the hardship and poverty of the family and the valiant efforts of the grandmother who was straining to take care of the various needs of her grandson.

Determined to make a difference in the family's life, Machogo mobilised her colleagues to donate money towards improving their situation. Machogo managed to collect over R1 600, which she used to buy a three-month supply of essential items that the family needed to care for the young teenager. Since that first visit, Machogo has remained in touch with the family and has been regularly checking on their wellbeing.


Max Shepard, from the Netcare 911 base at Netcare The Bay Hospital, was a finalist at the Netcare 911 Carer of the Year Awards.


Left to right: Craig Grindell, chief operating officer of Netcare 911, the overall winner of the Netcare 911 Carer of the Year 2014 basic life support paramedic, Maria Machogo, from the Netcare 911 Welkom base and Noeleen Phillipson, managing director of Netcare 911.


Robert Setogelo (left) and Bongi Mtimkulu (right) from the Netcare 911 Pelonomi base in Bloemfontein were finalists at the Netcare 911 Carer of the Year 2014 awards ceremony.


Machogo was nominated by her colleague, Matthew Knight, who believes that she epitomises the values held dear by Netcare 911. Matthew says, "Maria demonstrated care and compassion which went well beyond the duty of a paramedic. She is a role model for all of us."

Another Netcare 911 employee honoured at the awards ceremony was intermediate life support paramedic, Max Shepard, from the Netcare 911 Richard's Bay base. Shepard and his family took an 80-year-old German tourist, Mrs Christel Cochanski, into their home while her husband, Hermann, was being treated at Netcare

The Bay Hospital in March 2014. Shepard ensured that Mrs Cochanski, who was stranded in a strange country and couldn't speak any English, had everything she needed. He and his family treated Mrs Cochanski like one of their own, even taking her sightseeing. Shepard also took Mrs Cochanski to visit her husband in hospital twice a day, and made his telephone available so that she could contact relevant authorities and family in Germany to update them on her husband's condition.

Paramedics Bongi Mtimkulu and Robert Setogelo, from the Netcare 911 Pelonomi base in Bloemfontein, also went beyond the call of duty in May 2014 when they saw Ms Mari du Toit's bag being stolen from her car in rush-hour traffic. Mtimkulu and Setogelo pursued the thief, catching up with him about ten minutes later and confronting him, causing him to drop the bag and make a quick getaway. Mtimkulu and Setogelo then contacted Ms Du Toit to tell her that they had her bag and took it to her home. Finding all her belongings still in her bag, including her iPad, wallet and medical textbooks, Ms Du Toit felt eternally grateful to these two young heroes and offered them a reward.

However, the men declined, saying simply, "It's what we do".

In her nomination of the two paramedics, Ms Du Toit writes, "I have a newfound respect for the Netcare 911 staff. Words cannot describe how thankful I am. You guys are the best."

Another group of paramedics honoured as finalists for Netcare 911's Carer of the Year were Jacques Botha, Eduard Keys, Dwain Coetzee, Jan Burke and Robert Ackerman of Netcare 911 Pretoria East.

These five men went the extra mile for Riaan, a young autistic man, in the last few days of his life, ensuring that he received quality care and attention.

Riaan's brother, Marinus, wrote to Netcare 911, "My opinion is that nobody except family and friends (who really loved Riaan and enjoyed him) seemed to care about this person who was a bit different to normal people. But it was clear these men have compassion for people, life and their profession. It can't be described what it means to our family to know that there were actually people who cared about this autistic man. They will always be in our thoughts and you are blessed to have them as a part of your team."

Speaking at the Netcare 911 Carer of the Year award ceremony, Craig Grindell, chief operating officer of Netcare 911, noted, "Each and every finalist for this award has shown what it truly means to be a Netcare 911 paramedic. They have treated patients with kindness, compassion and dignity, while giving them the very best emergency medical care. Congratulations to the winner, all of the finalists as well as to all of the Netcare 911 staff members who were nominated for the award. You inspire us all through the example you set."


" Watch the video on how Maria Machogo, the winner of the Netcare911 Carer of the Year award for 2014, went beyond the call of duty to assist adeserving family. "




Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Sarah Wilson or Jillian Penaluna
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
Email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]