Durban - The nurse caught on camera allegedly abusing a patient who later died, has been placed on precautionary suspension.
The nurse met with St Mary’s Hospital management on Thursday following a video showing her being verbally abusive to a bedridden patient, Nozipho Ngcobo.
The video was captured on cellphone by another patient on the opposite site of the room at the Mariannhill hospital officially taken over by the Department of Health just last month.
Reacting to the video which went viral, the department condemned the nurse’s conduct, saying it was a violation of the code of conduct of health care professionals.
In the video, Ngcobo can be seen – as the curtain had not been drawn – struggling to move while the nurse goads her.
A source, who cannot be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media, told The Mercury that the nurse was given precautionary suspension after initially being thought to have bailed out of the meeting.
It is not clear when the disciplinary action will continue.
DA health spokesman Dr Imran Keeka reported the matter to the South African Nursing Council (SANC).
Describing the nurse’s conduct as “shocking and heinous” Keeka said it was “made worse only by the fact that this individual is supposed to be a professional, charged with taking care of very vulnerable patients”.
The IFP’s health spokeswoman Ncamisile Nkwanyana also weighed in, calling for the nurse’s dismissal and prosecution if she was found guilty.
“It is important for nurses to have positive attitudes towards patient care if good quality care is to be provided. Poor attitudes of some nurses, can severely undermine the ability of the healthcare system to provide quality care and improve outcomes for patients,” she said.
The IFP said all hospitals must assess nurses’ attitudes regularly to ensure that patient care was not compromised, said Nkwanyana.
“Nurses have taken an oath and if they do not live by that code then they must be exposed and stern action take. We encourage nurses to embrace their work with pride and professional excellence. Nurses should have an attitude that displays compassion and commitment,” she said.
Part of the Nursing Council’s mandate is to investigate complaints against nurses and midwives for professional misconduct. This includes the verbal assault of a patient.
If found guilty, they can be liable for a fine or costs of proceeds, be reprimanded, cautioned or suspended, or even struck off the register and be unable to work as a nurse.