‘It felt like a lifetime’

Melton South footballer Daniel Vasjuta has described his agonising wait for medical assistance after a horror broken leg in Saturday’s match against Sebastopol.

Vasjuta was forced to wait more than two hours for professional help when Ambulance Victoria paramedics refused to treat the 21-year-old due to fears for their safety.

This was after the crew took close to an hour to respond to the incident, with the initial emergency call made at 3.47pm.

Related reading

Vasjuta was recovering in hospital on Monday morning after surgery to repair a dislocated ankle and fractured fibia.

He told The Courier that the pain was “10 out of 10 for a long time” after suffering the break early in the third quarter of the Ballarat Football League senior clash in Melton.


Vasjuta said he was aware of the circumstances for his delay in getting treatment.

“Obviously there was a lot of different things being told and a lot of different stories, but basically a long story short, I heard that the ambulance got there and one person had said something to them to hurry up or something along those lines and he ended up leaving because he didn’t feel safe,” Vasjuta said.

“I can’t really comment on (that) because I didn’t see it, but I wasn’t happy when I heard that. Just for my pain – I was in agony really.”

Vasjuta said he was without pain relief for much of his time in the clubrooms, except for some Panadeine tablets he was eventually given.

“I was just hoping that the ambulance would eventually come. No one wanted to move me because I was in so much pain and I didn’t want to move. That’s the reason why we didn’t really get up and go to a hospital, because I was in so much pain,” he said.

“I think it was about two-and-a-half hours, but it felt like a lifetime really.”

Ambulance Victoria executive director emergency operations Mick Stephenson said when the ambulance arrived at the ground at 4.36pm, paramedics were verbally threatened and intimidated by a group of people.

Stephenson said a paramedic in AV’s communications centre was also verbally abused in a later Triple Zero call.

He 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.

Panthers president Brendan Morrissey has dismissed any suggestion that a “group” of people had “verbally threatened and intimidated” the paramedics.

Morrissey said that one person – not associated with the football club and believed to be homeless – had yelled at the paramedics.

“I was there,” Morrissey said.

Ambulance Employees Australia's Victorian secretary Steve McGhie said he supported the decision by paramedics to leave the scene on Saturday.

“The first thing people have to understand is that if paramedics feel at risk they have every right to remove themselves and the poor person that suffers is the patient,” McGhie said.

McGhie said even though Vasjuta would have been suffering, the injury was not a life-threatening situation. He said this would have placed the incident behind emergencies of higher priority, causing the initial delay.

He said paramedics need to be given a safe situation to do their jobs.

The Ballarat Football Netball League released a statement on Monday morning saying that it was investigating the incident.