The Far East Rand Hospital in Springs, Gauteng, has laid criminal charges against a nurse who performed an illegal abortion while off duty on Friday.
The termination of the pregnancy at a home led to complications that resulted in the patient collapsing.
"The nurse apparently gave the patient oral medication and did some manipulation which led to complications that saw the patient collapse," the Gauteng Department of Health said in a statement on Tuesday.
"He then took the patient to Far East Rand Hospital under a guise that she was his partner."
Hospital CEO Dr Constance Ndobe confirmed that charges had been laid at the Springs police station in the early hours of Monday morning.
"He started at home, brought the patient to the hospital and completed the illegal process which caused harm to the patient.
"It's as if he tried to cover up what he did at home at the hospital," she said.
Medical attention revealed that the patient suffered 'serious complications' and she was referred to further specialised care.
"The patient is currently stable in intensive care unit. Psychological support will be offered to the patient and her family," the department added.
The health department has pleaded with members of the public to not make use of "backyard abortions".
"They could lead to loss of life, or patients could be scarred for life.
"Termination of pregnancy is offered at selected community health care centres for the first trimester and at selected public hospitals for the second trimester," the department said.
The nurse - whose name has been withheld - has been suspended with immediate effect, while his case has been referred to the South African Nursing Council for further investigation.