’I was humiliated’: Hospital patient accuses guard of beating her
A woman who was allegedly beaten by a security guard at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital has demanded justice from the Department of Health for failing to protect her.
Samukelisiwe Mbatha from Pinetown was discharged from the hospital last month. She has a mental health condition and was admitted for depression. Mbatha said while in hospital she had asked to use the toilet but was refused which led to her soiling herself.
Mbatha claimed that the gate to the toilet was locked, which resulted in her wetting herself. She said she was thereafter beaten by a security guard for the mess she caused.
She backed up her allegations with a video recording of patients confirming the incident.
The cellphone footage showed the lock on the gate and several staff ignoring her when she screamed for help to open the gate.
“I felt nobody should ever have to go through the depression of being locked up due to having a mental health condition and then being denied to relieve yourself and use the toilet. That is unjust and against all human rights,” said Mbatha.
She said after urinating and soiling herself, a female security guard opened up the gate and told her to clean up the mess.
Mbatha said she was filing a civil case against the state to demand justice. She said she also wanted the security company to be held accountable for the actions of their officer. Mbatha said the incident was cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in the health care services under mental health care users.
"I don’t even have words to describe it. It was terrible, I came here depressed by my illness and with the hopes that I will get treatment and be fine. I thought as a patient we have rights and freedom to use a toilet. I was very humiliated. I suffer from flashbacks of the security guard attacking me and other patients. They simply took advantage of us because we are seen as abnormal and different,“Mbatha said.
Spokesperson for the KZN department of health, Ntokozo Maphisa said: "The department views these allegations in a very serious light, as the safety and well-being of all patients is paramount and may not be compromised under any circumstances.“
Maphisa said preliminary investigations by the hospital management into this matter have so far yielded nothing that lends veracity to what was being alleged.
“Hospital management would therefore welcome any further information or evidence about this matter, so that it can be dealt with further."