Patients of a well-known Durban gynecologist who was attacked at a private hospital feared for their lives as a savage assault played out in the reception area.
The 51-year-old doctor was assaulted, allegedly by three family members of a patient who had died after surgery at Shifa Hospital in Overport on February 24.
“I had come back from the theatre after my own surgery and could hear the doctor trying to resuscitate the patient. She then went towards the reception and all I heard was “You killed my sister”. A man was shouting. There were screams and it sounded like a scuffle where someone was really being thrashed.
“I couldn’t hear the doctor’s voice and I was sure that they had killed her. I was terrified that they were going to come into our room and attack us all. They were out of control,” a patient told TimesLIVE.
She said she heard them threaten to burn down the hospital.
SA Medical Association (Sama) chair Dr. Akhtar Hussain said the doctor had suffered severe facial injuries and broken bones.
He said the doctor had performed surgery on a 39-year-old female patient earlier on February 24.
The doctor was called to the ward shortly after 10 pm when the patient’s condition deteriorated and was attacked by the patient’s family when she informed them that the woman had died.
A week later, the doctor was still in intensive care.
Social media reports and several sources have claimed that the patient’s two brothers and husband were behind the attack.
“We are shocked and traumatized. What happened was unacceptable. It was an assault on the doctor and women abuse. The family could have used the correct channels to address their issues. This should not be happening in a private or public hospital. It should not be happening anywhere,” he said.
Hussain said there should be a full investigation into the security at the hospital and urged patients to reconsider going to Shifa hospital until it improved the safety of doctors and other medical staff.
In a statement, the Lenmed Group, which Shifa Hospital is a part of, confirmed the incident but declined to provide further details.
“The management of Shifa private hospital confirms that an incident of assault occurred on the premises last week. The incident was managed by security.
“To respect the confidentiality of those involved we are unable to disclose details of the incident. Full security teams, systems, and backups are in place at all times at the hospital to ensure the safety of our patients, employees, and doctors.
“We can confirm that a case of common assault was opened at Sydenham police station after a 51-year-old victim was allegedly assaulted.
Police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele confirmed that a case of common assault was opened and the docket sent to the senior public prosecutor for a decision.