Nurse raped, stabbed at Helen Joseph hospital

2014-09-02 14:48

Security has been improved at Johannesburg’s Helen Joseph Hospital after a nurse was reportedly raped, stabbed and beaten up on Friday night.

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

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.

Democratic Alliance Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom said he was “horrified by the reported rape of the health worker”.

Hamnca could not be immediately reached to confirm that she had been raped but The Star newspaper today quoted an unnamed doctor as saying the “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.”

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 area of the hospital that is controlled by the University of the Witwatersrand on Friday night.

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 about 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.

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 spokesperson Constable Mikateko Bila could not confirm the crime.

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