Attack leaves hospital staff in fear

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IOL  helen joseph2 THE STAR Fear stalks the corridors after an employee was allegedly raped at Helen Joseph Hospital. Photo: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - An employee at Helen Joseph Hospital has been hospitalised after allegedly being raped there on Friday.

In the wake of the attack, hospital insiders have slammed the “appalling” security measures with one doctor even contemplating hiring her own private security.

Late om Monday night, a doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “I just found out that a staff member at Helen Joseph Hospital had been raped, gagged, stabbed, beaten on Friday evening on the fourth floor of the hospital.

“Management has been all quiet about this and did not say much to people working night shifts,” the doctor said.

A second doctor corroborated the information.

“They still haven’t informed everybody properly.”

The Gauteng Department of Health (GDH) rejected rumours that the employee had died.

“The person has not died. I know it’s (DA spokesman for health) Jack Bloom (who told you),” said GDH spokesman Prince Hamnca.

“We can confirm that one of the nurses was attacked on Friday evening. She did not die. She is being treated at Milpark Hospital.”

Although Hamnca said the woman was a nurse, there has been conflicting information that she was either a lab technician or a phlebotomist, a clinical support worker who draws blood.

The staff said they were furious with what they felt was a lack of security at the hospital.

One of the sources said as a woman she felt particularly vulnerable working at night.

“I’m seriously considering hiring personal security but that would have to come out of my own pocket. It’s a joke that I even have to think like this.”

“Unlike Charlotte Maxeke (Johannesburg Academic Hospital), which has guards on every floor of every block, Helen Joseph only has a few on duty, and it’s grossly inadequate,” said one doctor.

“The public should be made aware of what has happened and the dangerous conditions in which we work, risking our lives to save others - it is grossly unacceptable,” he said.

Hamnca said they had beefed up security and the additional security measures would be retained permanently.

However, the female doctor disputed this and said employees had to ask each other for escorts between the wards as there were no guards in the corridors. “There was no extra security over the weekend,” she said.

A detailed statement was expected to be released by the department later on Tuesday.

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