Male nurse ‘demanded sex’

2010-04-13 00:00

THE KZN Health Department is concerned with the growing number of cases where women are falling prey to “sexual predators” in their employ.

Department spokesman Chris Maxon said sexual assault charges were laid against a trainee male nurse following a report that he sexually violated two female patients at Northdale Hospital last Thursday.

The trainee nurse from the Midlands Nursing School was reported to have demanded sexual favours from two patients aged 27 and 35.

Maxon said the nurse is alleged to have fondled the breasts of one patient and demanded oral sex from another.

Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said the sick men, women, and children in health care are the most vulnerable in society.

“Deeply misunderstood and stigmatised by many of their fellow citizens, they easily fall prey to physical, psychological, and sexual abuse and to gross and systematic violation of their basic human rights. We need to fight stigma and discrimination.

“To improve the quality of health care, we need to remove predators from our institutions,” said Dhlomo.

The trainee nurse was removed from the hospital and a case of sexual assault has been opened with the Mountain Rise police station, with the patients receiving counselling.

Stop Gender Violence (SGV), a crisis intervention NGO dealing with survivors of violence and sexual abuse based in Johannesburg, said it is unacceptable that sick and vulnerable people can be subjected to such humiliation.

SGV councillor Abednigo Ngcobo said the hospital social worker must refer the patients for counselling, with the hospital taking full responsibility for all costs incurred.

“For the sake of the smooth running of the investigation and the other female patients, the suspect must be suspended and criminal charges be laid against him,” said Ngcobo.

Late last month a 15-year-old girl was raped by a clerk at Edendale Hospital.

The clerk lured the girl into the records room and raped her. He was dismissed by the department and was arrested for rape.

It has been recently reported that the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), which oversees the conduct of health care workers in the country, is concerned about the increasing rate of medical professionals involved in sexual abuse of patients.

From a reported 2 000 complaints in 2007/2008, there were about 2 310 in 2008/2009.

Police confirmed one incident in the recent case and said a case of sexual assault is under investigation.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said a patient was approached by the male student nurse while waiting for medication in the ward. He had no knowledge of the second incident, in which the man allegedly asked for oral sex.

Police said it is alleged that the male student nurse, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the patient, asked the first victim to go to the toilet with him.

It is not clear what made the patient agree to that, said Zwane, saying that in the toilet the suspect fondled the patient’s breasts and she screamed for help.

Zwane said the suspect denied any wrong doing, but was removed from the hospital.

The suspect was not arrested.

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