A snapshot of Town Hill’s record

2009-04-05 00:00

- December 2000: a patient from Umlazi dies from a brain haemorrhage after a fight with another patient.

- February 2002: a diabetic patient goes missing and his body is found on the hospital grounds three weeks later.

- March 2002: a patient commits suicide by hanging himself with a strip of torn-off blanket.

- June 2002: it is alleged that a patient is sexually molested and staff fail to respond to her screams.

- June 2002: Nehawu (the National Health and Allied Workers’ Union) demonstrates against alleged corruption, racism and lack of transparency at the hospital.

- December 2002: a woman is found dead and two patients allegedly force two nurses out of a state vehicle and rob them.

- July 2003: a patient strangles herself by accident trying to escape from a seclusion room and the dog unit is called out when another goes missing.

- The Health Department appoints a team to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect.

n August 2003: a patient dies of undiagnosed pneumonia and the hospital is accused of abuse and neglect as his body is also covered in bruises.

- February 2005: the Health Department institutes a commission of inquiry into the hospital after Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and KZN Health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni visit the facility.

- July 2005: The eight-member team’s findings confirm allegations of staff neglect and abuse of patients; find evidence of racism, nepotism and favouritism, and identify other defects: theft of patients’ food and belongings by staff; high absenteeism rate; staff drunk on duty; staff shortages; lack of discipline; weak management; and inadequacies in layout and quality of facilities.

- December 2005: a patient hangs himself with a pair of pyjamas.

- December 2007: a former patient is pregnant and homeless after being raped by a male nurse; the nurse and a human resources manager are suspended

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