The parents of a teenage girl are suing a Durban private hospital, alleging that she was sexually assaulted by a male nurse in the casualty department. The nurse has been charged with rape.
The Times reports that while the nurse has been charged with rape, the family are also suing the police for failing to keep them updated on the progress of the case. They are also claiming damages from the private agency that hired the nurse.
The report says the mother, who cannot be named to protect the identity of her daughter, said they went to Westville Hospital on 25 June 2018, after her daughter, who was then 16, complained of chest pains. She was attended to by a male nurse, who asked that the mother wait on the other side of the curtain.
Leon Dunn, the attorney handling the matter, said that on the way home the mother noticed that her daughter was crying and she asked her what was wrong. The teenager said the male nurse had “come on to her”, asked her if she had a boyfriend and had touched her inappropriately. She said he inserted his finger into her vagina.
“The mom immediately went back to the hospital and confronted the nurse. He claimed he had been checking to see if she was pregnant. The human resources department became involved and they took statements from the mother and her daughter.”
Dunn said the father insisted that the matter be reported to the police and the complaint was laid the next day at Pinetown police station. Dunn said in the report that the family were still aggrieved. “I tried to get information from the hospital and from the police.
The police have refused to say how far the investigation has gone.” He said the teenager had attended counselling but was “quiet and withdrawn”.
The report says in the summons, issued out of the Durban Regional Court, the parents are claiming R400,000 from the hospital, the agency Seanda Health Care Services, and the nurse, claiming that the teenager had not given her consent for the “sexual activity” and the hospital and agency owed her duty of care.
Greg Swale, Life Healthcare regional manager, is quoted in the report as saying hospital management had moved very swiftly to investigate and manage the matter. “The matter was reported to the nursing recruitment agency who employed the nurse and the nurse’s services were suspended with immediate effect. “He has not worked at the hospital since.”
Swale said the hospital engaged extensively with the patient’s family and the nurse to determine the events that transpired, and co-operated with the SAPS in their independent investigation. “At the time of the incident we were very concerned for the patient and her family, and extended our sympathies. We reiterate our concern and compassion once again.”
The report says the agency did not respond to a request for comment.
The claim against the police is for R200,000 for “breach of duty to properly investigate” the case. Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said the suspect had last appeared in the Pinetown Regional Court in early April, on a charge of rape. “Witnesses in this case have been issued with subpoenas to appear in court for trial,” Zwane said.
The report says Dunn confirmed that his clients had recently received the subpoenas but said this was not “the progress report” they had been trying to get for several months.
“I have a watching brief and will keep a close eye on the court proceedings.”The Times report