KwaZulu-Natal Health has ordered a probe into the death of a 63-year-old patient who was allegedly beaten to death by another patient at the same hospital. The Mercury reports that it is alleged that on Sunday, the 51-year-old man was admitted to the Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni, north of Durban. He is believed to have made his way to the bed of the older man and beat him repeatedly.
Staff on duty at the hospital heard the victim’s screams and rushed to the ward. The report says according to a statement by the department, when nursing staff arrived, they found that attacker punching the man. The two patients were then quickly separated by security, and attended to by nurses and doctors. Attempts to revive the deceased patient were unfortunately not successful, and he sadly succumbed to his injuries.
The report says the alleged attacker was sedated and put into an isolation ward. The matter was also reported to the police and the alleged perpetrator is currently being kept in seclusion, and under police guard.
Provincial Health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, called for the matter to be investigation. “The hospital has been in constant communication with close relatives of the deceased patient. Counselling services have also been arranged for personnel that were exposed to the incident,” she is quoted in the report as saying. Simelane-Zulu said the department will work closely with police and the victim’s family in handling this matter going forward.
The report says Democratic Alliance (DA) acting spokesperson for health, Dr Imran Keeka, has condemned the attack.
KZN Health said there was no evidence, at this stage, that the alleged perpetrator was a psychotic patient, despite claims made by the DA, reports The Times. The DA called into question various safety and staffing issues at the hospital.
“The questions surrounding the incident, including shortage of staff, orderlies, security and CCTV cameras, must be raised sharply. It must be determined why a violent, aggressive and psychotic patient was left without being properly placed and/or monitored according to his condition,” said Keeka.
The report says the police confirmed that they were investigating a case of murder following the incident.