Stabbings: lax security blamed
Attacks on hospital staff and patients are on the increase. Within a week of a doctor and five patients being stabbed by a patient at Soweto's Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, a nurse was stabbed 10 times by her reputed lover at Bara.
Hospital CEO Johanna More said the couple came into the hospital together on Thursday just before the nurse's shift was due to start and, it is believed, an argument between the two broke out in a corridor.
"She ran to one of the wards crying for help after she had been stabbed," said More.
Police said the boyfriend, who is still being sought, will be charged with attempted murder.
"He fled the hospital after stabbing the nurse," said Captain Phephi Matlou-Mteto.
More said it was not known what led to the attack or where the boyfriend got the knife.
"It is standard procedure for all those coming into the hospital to be searched by guards at the entrance. I cannot verify if that was the case here," she said. "There were supposed to be guards around that area [where the nurse was stabbed]. This would not have happened if they had been there."
The nurse was taken to the nearby Milpark Hospital where, More said, she was recovering well.
Safety and security at the hospital have been in the spotlight since an intern doctor and five patients were stabbed there a week before the latest assault.
Last week, the stabbed doctor said: "[The hospital] is too big and more needs to be done about security here."
He said he was treating a patient in ward H1 on Saturday when another patient, a 27-year-old construction worker, ran at him armed with a pair of scissors, aiming for his chest.
The doctor, who was stabbed in the arm, wrestled his attacker to the ground.
In 2007, a medical student was raped at the hospital.
Director of Mabotwane Security Services Enos Malatji said his company provided about 80 guards to the hospital for the day shift and 66 for the night shift.
According to the DA, the Gauteng health department spends millions on security at its hospitals, but gets poor services.
"The R150-million allocated is too much to pay for what security companies provide," said DA health spokesman Jack Bloom.
The Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg (General) Hospital in Parktown, Johannesburg, receives the biggest slice of the security budget - R30-million a year.
The recipient of the second-biggest amount in Gauteng is Chris Hani-Baragwanath, which is allocated R20-million a year.
Abandoned wheelchairs were found lying in the visitors' parking area of Charlotte Maxeke.
Cars' boots are not checked when visitors leave the hospital.
Security personnel allow visitors through the pedestrian entrance at Bara after searching their bags.
CCTV cameras are installed on every floor but there was no one monitoring the screens at the security department when The Times was there.
There was at least one security guard posted between the hospital's medical units and the wards.
No security guard was in sight in the vicinity of the ward in which the intern and the patients were knifed.