South Africa 9.6.2015 12:00 pm

We’re looking into Bara assault – Dept

The entrance to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is pictured, 7 June 2015, in Soweto, Johannesburg. Evidence has emerged showing that staff have been abusing patients. Picture: Alaister Russell

The entrance to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is pictured, 7 June 2015, in Soweto, Johannesburg. Evidence has emerged showing that staff have been abusing patients. Picture: Alaister Russell

The Gauteng department of health is probing allegations that a 16-year-old psychiatric patient was beaten by a doctor at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.

Read More:Bara doctor ‘beats up mentally ill teenage’ patient

Gauteng health spokesperson Steve Mabona said before The Citizen enquired about the alleged attack in May, the department had caught wind of it and started its own investigation.

A reliable source at the hospital claimed the teen was brought into casualty and beaten so badly by

a doctor that he eventually fell unconscious.

The patient was described as having arrived at casualty in an aggressive and agitated state, likely intoxicated.

According to the source, a doctor in casualty started hitting and kicking the teen after security guards and an elderly man – who was escorting another patient – tried to restrain the boy.

The teenager, who was apparently in a psychotic state, bit the elderly man, according to the source.

“The casualty doctor laid into the patient and beat him up,” said the source.

“He beat him in the face multiple times. The teen was black-and-blue. He lost a tooth and was unconscious in a pool of blood … unconscious for a few minutes.”

While the source said the doctor had signed a written statement admitting to the incident, the department said they had no record of this.

The department was, however, not investigating claims that suspected psychiatric patients arriving in the casualty ward were physically restrained using bandages, because of an alleged lack of specially designed shackles.

The use of bandages was alleged to have caused some patients bruising and nerve damage.

“Any patient suspected of having a psychiatric illness is restrained. The hospital has run out of, misplaced, or broken the appropriate restraints … which are padded. So they tie them up with bandages – to stretchers,” the source said.

The department said: “Mental health is a priority and, as such, the Mental Health Directorate, on a continuous basis, does conduct assessments on mental health aspects, including restraining of patients.”

 

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