Attack on med student causes concern

2012-06-19 14:11
Tygerberg Hospital (File)

Tygerberg Hospital (File)

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Cape Town - A medical student was robbed by a knife-wielding man at the Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town at the weekend, the provincial health department said.

Spokesperson Faiza Steyn said the man, in his 30s, took the final-year medical student by surprise when she entered her sleeping quarters at 08:00 on Saturday.

He grabbed her bag, asked whether she had any valuables and where her car was parked, mistakenly thinking her room keys were car keys.

"He asked her whether she had any condoms and she replied no. She offered him food instead, at which point he said he will be leaving and left the room," Steyn said.

She was not harmed and the man fled. He had not been arrested.


Police were reviewing security footage from some of the 160 closed-circuit television cameras in the hospital.

Steyn said the hospital was well secured, with 42 guards patrolling the corridors a shift.

Regular security assessments took place.

The hospital introduced two extra security guards on the floor at the weekend, and added three guards on the floor at the beginning of June.

The three guards were added because of longer hours of darkness in winter.

"Any security breach at any of our facilities is concerning, [however] we are not jails. These are public facilities and we have to make it accessible... people need to be vigilant and take collective responsibility," Steyn said.

She said the staff sleepover area had been temporarily closed and students were instead using a converted ward, which was obviously not locked on the day the man entered.

"The room is supposed to be locked at all times and only students and staff using it have access," she said.

Medical students were urged to make use of security escorts when they left the hospital or walked to their residences.

On Sunday, a mentally-ill patient at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, in Soweto, attacked an intern doctor and four patients with a knife.

Gauteng health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said on Monday that her department would investigate.

"The department, together with hospital management, will... consider the outcome of the investigation and tighten security measures if needed."

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