Security measures at psychiatric facilities in Limpopo are once again in the spotlight following the stabbing to death of a patient at Evuxakeni Psychiatric Hospital in Giyani.
On Sunday, a 77-year-old man was stabbed by a fellow patient. The suspect has been arrested and will appear in court on Tuesday.
Circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the death of 77-year-old Loos Nkosi are unclear.
The Health Department could only confirm that he was stabbed with a sharp object and that an internal investigation has been launched.
Spokesperson for the department, Neil Shikwambana, says they are unable to verify if there was a breach of security at this stage.
Provincial secretary of the nurses’ union Denosa, Jacob Molepo, says it has been appealing to the department to improve security at psychiatric facilities. Molepo says similar incidents have taken place in the past.
“This is not the first incident which took place in our facilities. We had the incident in Matlala hospital whereby a psychiatric patient assaulted and killed another psychiatric patient, and we also had a similar incident, which took place in Hayani hospital when a psychiatric patient killed one of our nurses. We have been making a call to the department to strengthen security in our health facilities, especially psych institutions, to explore other measures which can ensure that our members are safe, patients are safe.”
Tracing the victim’s family
“Meanwhile, authorities are struggling to trace Nkosi’s family and have appealed to members of the public to assist.
Spokesperson for the Social Development Department in the province, Witness Tiva, says Nkosi had been at the hospital since 2003.
Tiva has raised a concern that in some instances families of mentally-ill patients neglect them and are not in contact with the hospitals.
“We are working hand in hand with the SAPS together with the department of health to ensure that we trace the family of Loos Nkosi. We also call on community members to assist us with information that can help to find the family of the deceased. We also call on families that have their relatives in such facilities to continue checking on them, as it will help the institutions to easily get in touch with them when there is an urgent need to do so.”
Police have opened a murder case against the 37-year-old suspect.
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