Ambulance Victoria has backed a decision of paramedics to delay treating a Melton South footballer with a broken leg for more than an hour owing to fears for their safety.
The two-person paramedic crew left Melton Recreation Reserve without treating Daniel Vasjuta after what they described as being verbally threatened and intimidated by a group of people – a claim disputed by Melton South Football Club president Brendan Morrissey.
Vasjuta was injured just minutes into the third quarter of the Ballarat Football League senior match.
Ambulance Victoria executive director emergency operations Mick Stephenson confirmed in a statement on Sunday that a triple zero call was received at 3.47pm.
Stephenson said when the ambulance arrived at 4.36pm, the paramedics were verbally threatened and intimidated by a group of people.
“The male and female paramedics activated their duress alarm and left the scene.”
He said a paramedic in AV’s communications centre was also verbally abused in a later Triple Zero call.
Stephenson said a second ambulance crew returned to the ground with a police escort, with Vasjuta transported to hospital in a stable condition about 6.20pm.
“Paramedics need to treat patients in an environment where they are safe.
“There is no excuse for intimidation towards paramedics who had gone to care for an injured man.
“The behaviour of these people had unnecessarily delayed the patient’s medical treatment,” he said.
Morrissey dismissed any suggestion that a “group” of people had “verbally threatened and intimidated” the paramedics.
He told The Courier that one person, not associated with the football club, and believed to be homeless, had yelled at the paramedics. “I was there.”
Morrissey said the only people at the clubrooms waiting for the ambulance had been Vasjuta’s family and club officials.
He said the paramedics had been offered assistance when they expressed safety concerns.
Morrissey said he was disappointed the paramedics had chosen to leave without treating the player.
With Melton South and Sebastopol trainers still with Vasjuta in the Panthers’ change rooms waiting for paramedics when the senior match ended, players changed out of their football gear on the ground.
Morrissey expressed thanks for Sebastopol’s assistance.
Melton South has taken up the issue with the BFL.