11 January 2013

South Africa: MEC Hope Papo Institutes Investigation Following Suicide By Patient At Hospital

press release

The MEC for Health in Gauteng, Mr Hope Papo has instituted an investigation after a patient allegedly committed suicide at Natalspruit hospital yesterday.

It is alleged that the patient, who was kept in an isolation ward, died from severe burn wounds after burning the linen and mattress in which he was sleeping after midnight. Nurses and hospital brought the fire under control and no other patients were affected.

Police were called to the scene and have initiated a forensic investigation.

The patient was admitted to the hospital in December with 50% burn wounds alleged suffered when his shack caught fire. He was kept in an isolation ward to minimize chances of infections to his wounds.

The MEC has instructed a team from the head office to conduct an immediate investigation and provide a report to him as soon as possible. Hospital personnel have also been instructed to co-operate with the police investigation.

"This is a tragic incident that must be investigated in detail to provide us with full information about how it happened and whether it could have been prevented. Our condolences will be conveyed to the family and we would like to assure the public that there will be a thorough investigation," the MEC said.

The patient's family was called to the hospital and briefed yesterday and they were also offered psycho-social support to assist them in dealing with their loss.

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