The Italian mafia has reportedly ordered ambulance drivers in Naples to stop using their sirens and flashing lights to disturb drug-dealers who mistake them for police.
Over the weekend, two gang members stopped an ambulance and threatened to kill the driver for putting the siren on while travelling to an emergency in the southern city.
This is because drug dealers don’t like blaring sirens and ambulance lights as they can disturb drug-pushers who mistake them for the arrival of police cars, interrupting their business and chasing their off customers away.
The ambulance drivers in Naples are now demanding police protection from being harassed by the local mafia.
While travelling to an emergency in the city’s Spanish quarter, one medical worker was driving an ambulance with its siren on when the vehicle was flanked by two men riding a large motorbike, reported The Times.
They reportedly banged on the ambulance window and threatened to kill the driver.
Haven’t you understood you cannot use your siren here? Turn it off or we’ll shoot you,’ one of the men warned.
After the incident, the terrified medic had to call the police to escort him out of the neighbourhood safely.
Manuel Ruggiero, a 42-year-old emergency doctor and local head of Nessuno Tocchi Ippocrate, a group fighting violence against medical workers, also confirmed similar incidents in neighborhoods across Naples.
He told The Times: ‘We have already been ordered not to use sirens in other neighbourhoods, including Sanità and Traiano, where the locally based ambulance turns on its siren only after it leaves the area.’
He also said the Ambulance crews were assaulted by relatives of patients after they arrived on the scene too late to save them.
‘The same ambulance involved in the incident on Saturday was kicked, and the crew pushed when they were not in time to save a cardiac arrest patient,’ the doctor added.