MEDIA STATEMENT:KZN HEALTH MEC SADDENED AND CONCERNED BY FATAL ATTACK ON A PATIENT AT NGWELEZANE HOSPITAL; CALLS FOR URGENT PROBE

We note with sadness an unfortunate incident where a 63 year-old male patient has unfortunately passed away after being attacked by another patient at Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni, on the evening of Sunday, 14 July 2019. We wish to express our deepest condolences to the family, relatives and friends of the deceased patient.

It is alleged that the now-deceased patient was randomly attacked while he was asleep, at 23h50 on Sunday.

The 51 year-old alleged perpetrator had arrived at the hospital on 13 July 2019, and was admitted on 14 July 2019 as a normal patient. There is no evidence at this stage that the alleged perpetrator was a psychotic patient.

Hospital staff on duty heard a sudden commotion and hysterical cries, and immediately rushed to the ward. Upon arrival, they found the now-deceased patient being severely punched with fists by another patient. 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 other patient was sedated and put in isolation where relevant care was given. The matter was also reported to the South African Police Service and the alleged perpetrator is currently being kept in seclusion, and under police guard.

As a Department we are investigating this matter as a matter of urgency in order to establish whether such an incident could not have been prevented.

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.

In addition to its own investigation, the Department will work very closely with the police as well as the family of the deceased in handling this matter going forward.

ENDS

Issued on behalf of KZN Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane

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