Goodman takes top honours

Third time lucky for paramedic with a heart of gold

Friday, October 25 2013

Last night was third time lucky for Goodman Nyoka, the paramedic with a heart of gold, when he finally took home the 2013 Netcare 911 Carer of the Year award, ten years after first being nominated for this coveted award. His winning prize takes this unassuming Johannesburg based father a step closer to his dream of completing a marketing degree through the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Netcare 911 paid homage to its employees who have gone beyond the call of duty at its 2013 Carer of the Year awards ceremony hosted in Johannesburg. The event acknowledged employees who, during the past year, demonstrated an extraordinary level of care, dignity, participation, truth and passion, the values that Netcare upholds.

In a close contest, Nyoka narrowly pipped the two other finalists to the winning post. They are basic life support paramedic Mohamed Yusuf Sheik of Netcare 911’s base at Netcare St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg and George Moloi, coordinator at Netcare 911’s base situated at Netcare Kroon Hospital. The three finalists were chosen from more than 20 nominees from Netcare 911 operations countrywide.

Intermediate life support paramedic Nyoka, who nowadays works as a case manager at Netcare 911 head office, was a Netcare 911 finalist in the Netcare Carer of the Year awards on two previous occasions, namely in 2003, within months after joining the company, and also in 2011.

At the time, the young paramedic attended to a construction worker who had broken both legs in a scaffolding accident. Not only did Nyoka provide optimum care for his patient but also took him to Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg where he benefitted from the professional care of leading orthopaedic surgeons. Goodman stayed in touch with his patient throughout his hospitalisation and later personally took him home to his family in Cullinan. His care and compassion did not end there as he later returned the patient to Netcare Sunninghill Hospital for a check-up, taking him under his wing by providing him with groceries and clothing.

Several years later Nyoka and his partner Cynthia Phongola, were nominated for a Netcare 911 Carer of the Year award, this time for going the extra mile for an injured woman and her five-year-old child. The woman had overdosed on drugs and was involved in a car accident with her young child in the vehicle. Having delivered the injured mother to hospital, the paramedics were unable to get someone to care for the young child. With no personal details, no address and scant information to assist them, Nyoka and Phongola, who were by then long off duty, returned to the scene of the accident with the child. With the assistance of the child, they managed to find the family’s home some seven kilometres away, where they could leave the little girl in the care of her concerned aunt.

Nyoka’s latest good deed was performed en route to work from his home in Roodepoort on 28 June, when he came across a motorist, with a three-year-old child, who had lost control of her vehicle and had crashed into a side barrier. He stopped, got out of his car and commenced treatment immediately. While the toddler sustained only minor injuries caused by broken glass, the mother was seriously injured. Nyoka accompanied the woman to the hospital while continuing her treatment in the ambulance.

In the meantime, he had arranged for a basic life support paramedic on scene to follow the ambulance to the hospital in his private vehicle, with the three-year-old toddler ensconced in the back seat, so that the injured mother would know that her child was being safely cared for. Once the patient was handed over to the hospital staff, Nyoka, himself the father of a three-year-old, took the little girl to her créche and then contacted the mother’s family to inform them of the accident. Only then did he proceed to Netcare 911’s offices in Midrand to start his day.

Thanks to his compassion and the vast experience in road operations he accumulated over a period of nine years, Nyoka had made a considerable difference to the life of a mother and her child. The mother, who made a full recovery, remembered what the valiant Nyoka had done for her and her daughter on that fateful day and upon discharge from hospital, personally came to thank her hero.

When Nyoka took to the stage to receive his award his former colleagues at Netcare 911’s Roodepoort base could not hold back their excitement. According to Neill Visser, regional operations manager, Gauteng West, Nyoka did his ‘family’ at Roodepoort base proud. “When one of us excels it brings a warm glow to us all. To be nominated once is great, to be nominated three times is just exceptional. It is wonderful that Goodman’s compassion for others has finally paid off. He is a true asset to Netcare 911 and his profession and is a role model to his peers.”

Commenting on the award Noeleen Phillipson, managing director of Netcare 911 said: “We wholeheartedly encourage our staff members at all levels of the company to live the Netcare values in every interaction with patients, the communities they serve, colleagues and other stakeholders. Our three finalists showed compassion for the circumstances of others and used their thorough knowledge of emergency medicine and their understanding of human nature to the fullest to assist them. They are an asset not only to Netcare 911 but to their profession.“

“I salute not only our winner, finalists and nominees in the 2013 Netcare 911 Carer of the Year awards but all our South African emergency medical services staff who are unfailing in their dedication to making the world a better place. The South African emergency medical services industry is blessed with many remarkable men and women who live to serve, to save lives and to turn tragedy into triumph whenever possible. I am honoured to be part of this wonderful sector and company.”

Issued by : Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcells Cryogenics
Contact : Martina Nicholson or Graeme Swinney or Clemmy Eccles
Telephone : (011) 469 3016
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