Nurse Brutally Attacked at Helen Joseph Hospital

A phlebotomist nurse who works for National Health Laboratory Services was reportedly raped, stabbed and beaten up on Friday night in the Wits University controlled area within Helen Joseph Hospital.

Apparently the Gauteng Department of Health’s (DoH) spokesperson, Prince Hamnca, could not be immediately reached to confirm that the nurse had been raped, but The Star newspaper today quoted an unnamed doctor as saying the “staff member had been raped, gagged, stabbed and beaten on the fourth floor of the hospital. Management has been all quiet about this and did not say much to people working night shifts.”

Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng health spokesperson, Jack Bloom, said he was horrified by the attack. “The Gauteng DoH has now confirmed this incident, but only after the wide circulation of an anonymous SMS that claimed that the victim had died and management was covering it up.”

The Gauteng DoH has since said it has heightened security measures at the Johannesburg hospital. “Since the occurrence of this incident, the hospital management has taken precautionary measures by availing extra security personnel to escort health workers who need to move around the hospital. Additional personnel have also been recruited to ensure that all floors are covered. The university has also changed locks and put measures in place to ensure that their area is also secured,” said Hamnca.

Hamnca said the nurse is recovering well and is expected to be discharged soon.

Hamnca went on to say that the hospital has set up a security committee to review the effects of the introduced security measures. The committee will take into account the concerns raised by both staff and patients.

Bloom said the department has spent about R150 million a year on private security and should be held accountable for the assault. “If they are not performing they must be fired. Staff and patients need to know that safety is always a high priority,” said Bloom.

Hamnca said the attacker was someone who got into the hospital and has not been apprehended yet. “It is terrible if the people who are committed to saving our lives are being targeted. As members of the community we need to condemn these vicious acts,” said Hamnca.

“A case has been reported to the South African Police Services and we want the perpetrator to be apprehended and face the full might of the law,” said Hamnca. The DoH has appealed to the public to assist in ensuring the safety and protection of health workers.