The paramedics union has apologised for falsely claiming the family of a Sydney man was responsible for his death, after saying a “violent mob” obstructed efforts to save him.
Hamze Ibrahim, 25, died over the weekend in Riverwood in what the Australian Paramedics Association originally described as a suspected overdose.
But relatives said he didn’t take drugs, and suffered from sleep apnoea. It’s believed he suffered cardiac arrest.
On Wednesday, the day Mr Ibrahim was buried, the APA admitted it was “wholly incorrect” to blame the family.
Their lawyer, Raed Rahal of Cambridge Law, told The New Daily they felt both relief and disgust at the apology.
“Relieved that they have been vindicated, and disgusted that this was ever allowed to occur in the first place,” Mr Rahal said in a statement.
“Not only did the Ibrahim family have to deal with the now-accepted untruthful comments made, but also the social media ‘trolls’ who both attacked the family and the memory of Mr Ibrahim.”
Asked on Wednesday whether the family would look at defamation options, Mr Rahal said they “buried their loved one today”.
“When the time is appropriate they will consider their position.”
The APA had also put the number of police in attendance at 60, but NSW Police told The New Daily it was “less than 20”.
The union admitted it had found “factual inaccuracies” in its statement released on Sunday.
“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 apology said.
The union acknowledged the family never obstructed or threatened paramedics while they were treating the 25-year-old.
“Unfortunately, despite doing everything they could, paramedics were unable to revive Mr Ibrahim.”
APA said it deeply regretted the previous claims and unreservedly apologised for grief, embarrassment and distress caused.
Mr Ibrahim has a large extended family, many of whom live near the Riverwood unit and rushed to his side when paramedics arrived.
“We had the outrageous situation where a violent mob demanded paramedics hand over a defibrillator and drugs, saying they would treat the patient … the stupidity of these people have taken the life of their family member,” NSW union secretary Steve Pearce said in the offending statement on Sunday.
The Ibrahim family hit back on Monday, saying their family’s suffering was “unjustifiably and unnecessarily amplified” by the union’s earlier “self-serving, reckless and unfounded comments”.
“The paramedics indicated to Mr Ibrahim’s family that they could not revive him. This news was, understandably, met with distress and an emotional reaction.”
The family said those that attended had difficulty accepting his death, but “none were violent or threatening towards paramedics or police”.
“The calling of police was not as a consequence of any direct threat or assault on a paramedic.”
The family thanked the paramedics and their efforts to revive Mr Ibrahim.
“[He] was a hard working and dedicated family man who was loved and respected by family and friends,” the family said through Mr Rahal on Monday.