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Elderly man dies after assault by fellow patient at KZN hospital

16 July 2019 - 15:59 By LWANDILE BHENGU
A patient in his 60s died in a KZN hospital after being brutally assaulted by another patient.
A patient in his 60s died in a KZN hospital after being brutally assaulted by another patient.
Image: Tyler Olson/ 123RF.com

An elderly man has died in a northern KwaZulu-Natal hospital after being attacked by a fellow patient on Sunday.

The KZN health department said in a statement that the patient had been asleep at Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni when he was randomly attacked by another patient.

"Hospital staff on duty heard a sudden commotion and hysterical cries, and immediately rushed to the ward. Upon arrival, they found the now-deceased patient being severely punched with fists by another patient," said the department.

After separating the two men, they attempted to revive the victim - but to no avail. The other patient, 51, was sedated and put in isolation where the relevant care was provided.

The department said there was no evidence, at this stage, that the alleged perpetrator was a psychotic patient, despite claims made by the DA in a statement issued on Tuesday.

In a letter addressed to KZN health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, the DA called into question various safety and staffing issues at the hospital.

"The questions surrounding the incident, including shortage of staff, orderlies, security and CCTV cameras, must be raised sharply. It must be determined why a violent, aggressive and psychotic patient was left without being properly placed and/or monitored according to his condition," said the DA's Imran Keeka in the letter.

Police confirmed that they were investigating a case of murder following the incident.