Nurse attacked at Helen Joseph Hospital

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iol news pic Helen Joseph Hospital INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS The entrance to the casualty unit at Helen Joseph hospital. File picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - A nurse was assaulted at Johannesburg's Helen Joseph Hospital, the Gauteng health department said on Tuesday.

“The Gauteng health department has beefed up security measures at the Helen Joseph Hospital following the brutal attack on a phlebotomist nurse,” spokesman Prince Hamnca said.

DA Gauteng health spokesman Jack Bloom claimed she was raped.

“I am horrified by the reported rape of a health worker at the Helen Joseph Hospital last week on Friday evening,” he said in a statement.

Hamnca could not be immediately reached to confirm this.

Bloom said: “The Gauteng health department has now confirmed this incident, but only after the wide circulation of an anonymous sms that claimed that the victim had died and management was covering it up.”

Hamnca said the attacker was someone who got into the hospital.

“The person has not been apprehended,” he said.

The attack took place at the Wits University-controlled area in the hospital on Friday night.

The nurse works for the National Health Laboratory Service and draws blood from patients.

“The nurse... is recovering well and is expected to be discharged soon,” said Hamnca.

Security guards had been assigned to escort health workers around the hospital.

“The university has also changed locks and put measures in place to ensure that their area is secured,” said Hamnca.

The hospital had set up a committee to review the effects of the new security measures. It would take into account the concerns raised by staff and patients.

“A case has been reported to the South African Police Service and we want the perpetrator to be apprehended and face the full might of the law,” Hamnca said.

Bloom said the department spent around R150 million a year on private security and should be held accountable for the assault.

“If they are not performing they must be fired. Staff and patients need to know that safety is always a high priority,” Bloom said.

The Star newspaper quoted an unnamed doctor as saying: “I just found out that a staff member... had been raped, gagged, stabbed, beaten on the fourth floor of the hospital. Management has been all quiet about this and did not say much to people working night shifts.”

A female staff member told the publication: “I am 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.”

Another doctor said: “Unlike Charlotte Maxeke, which has guards on every floor of every block, Helen Joseph only has a few on duty and it's grossly inadequate.”

Police spokeswoman Constable Mikateko Bila could not confirm the crime.

Sapa


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