A mere three days after a nurse was stabbed 10 times at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, nothing has been done about security – it is as lax as ever.
A team of three journalists from The Star Africa carried in potentially dangerous objects to the ward where the attack had taken place, but were not searched once by the more than two dozen security guards they encountered.
Two violent incidents have occurred at the hospital in the past nine days – spurring the DA and unions representing employees at the hospital to request better security.
A patient at the hospital’s psychiatric wards stabbed six people last Saturday and, before that, a nurse was stabbed 10 times on Thursday night by her boyfriend, during what appeared to be a fit of jealousy. The boyfriend had managed to get in and out of the hospital with ease.
After the incidents, the hospital promised to beef up security, but CEO Johanna More had on Sunday afternoon still not come back to The Star Africa to explain why the company contracted to protect the hospital, Mabotwane Security, was still working.
On Sunday, a reporter from The Star Africa and two colleagues drove on to hospital property at all three vehicle entrances. In the car were metallic objects, cameras and even a sharp steak knife. These were loaded into the car’s boot and in bags on the back seat of the car.
While security guards at the main entrance on Chris Hani Road asked to examine the boot of the car, the full kit bag was ignored completely, along with the bags in the back seat that contained electronic equipment, the knife and a pair of scissors.
At the entrance to the section of the hospital where the most recent attack happened, St John’s Eye Hospital, six security guards allowed The Star Africa to drive in without any examination of the vehicle except a quick opening of the boot.
Security guards said they had heard of the attack, but had not been briefed on any further “security protocols”.
They said that on the night of the second stabbing, no security had been stationed at the St John recovery ward, from where the jealous lover escaped.
However, on Friday, a security guard had been placed outside the ward, armed with a hand-held metal detector.
The security guard did not search any of our team entering the building – despite the bag with the potential weapons.
The man scanned the bag and his detector went off. But a simple explanation that it was a cellphone that had triggered it was accepted and full access to the ward was given.
Police said a lover of one of the nurses had managed to make it into the ward where she was working on Thursday night at about 7.30pm and stabbed her 10 times before fleeing.
Covered in blood, the man had escaped despite a security guards’ contingent at the entrance to the Eye Hospital and the Lilian Ngoyi Community Healthcare Centre just a hundred metres away.
The hospital claims that this would have been the time that security guards were changing shifts.
According to police spokeswoman, Captain Nondumiso Matlou-Mteto, police were looking for the man.
Matlou-Mteto said on Sunday police had picked up an envelope at the scene of the crime after the man had fled.
The diary entries inside the envelope allegedly spoke of the man’s dissatisfaction with his relationship with the nurse and indicated he might have been unstable.
The nurse was being treated at Milpark Hospital for her wounds.
A week ago last Saturday, a 27-year-old patient being treated in a psychiatry ward stole a pair of suturing scissors from a trolley and hid them.
“Something triggered him, he got up and started stabbing the other patients,” said More.
He stabbed five patients before a medical intern intervened.
Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng spokesman on health, said security at Bara was a major problem. “Patients and staff don’t feel safe at Bara.
“People approach us about it all the time and they are not happy,” he said, adding that R20 million was spent towards ensuring security at the hospital each year.
On Friday morning Bloom called for a review of the security contracts at Bara and at other hospitals where staff felt unsafe.
“We need to get better value for the more than R150 million spent every year on security at hospitals in Gauteng,” he said.
“Enough is enough! The security company at this hospital, Mabotwane, must be fired and replaced with a competent company. Hospital management must also be held accountable for this unforgivable security lapse,” Bloom added.
He also said the attempted rape of a medical intern in December and another assault in January had left Helen Joseph Hospital staff wary.
The Star Africa