'Impatient' patient slapped with R24,000 fine for attacking nurse
A 25-year-old Limpopo patient who assaulted a nurse who was unable to assist him while he stood in a queue for medical assistance has paid R24,000 to avoid spending 24 months in prison.
Vulani Mungwambani, who was sentenced to two years in prison when he appeared in the Malamulele Magistrate's Court on Friday, managed to pay the fine imposed as an option to the prison sentence.
The court heard that in April this year, the Malamulele Hospital nurse, Mavis Mnisi, was requested to pack files while her colleague went on to lunch.
Despite being the only nurse on duty at the time, Mungwambani felt the nurse was taking her time in helping patients who were queuing for medical assistance at the hospital and attacked her.
During the attack, the nurse was punched and thrown against a wall until she lost consciousness. She had to be transferred to Polokwane Medi-Clinic because her injuries were serious.
Magistrate Daniel Maluleke said the accused did not show remorse for his actions and should be taught a lesson.
"The hospital works according to procedure and won't be changed by you to suit your time. The court wants to teach you a lesson to be patient next time you are at a hospital or clinic. You never showed remorse for your actions or tried to apologise to the victim," said Maluleke.
Maluleke said the court also took into consideration the fact Mungwambani was still a university student.
However, Mnisi feels the sentence was too lenient.
"I'm not happy with this sentence. I wanted him to spend 15 to 20 years in prison because I could have lost my life. I will look at other options and will see whether to ask the National Prosecuting Authority to appeal or not," she said.
Mnisi is also unhappy with the lack of support from hospital management.
"They didn't even come to give me support during my trial or inform me on whether I will get compensation for the attack because it happened at my workplace," Mnisi said.
Provincial health department spokesperson, Derrick Kganyago, said the support Mnisi received was enough.
"The hospital assisted the nurse by ensuring she got treatment at Malamulele and Polokwane. Both the family and nurse were consulted extensively until she was discharged. The hospital sent a delegation to her house upon her discharge. Her court appearance was also supported by the hospital.
"Occupational injury forms were duly completed with the assistance of an Occupational Health and Safety practitioner. As for the courts, we have no control over their decisions," said Kganyago.
- African Eye News Service