Mentally ill patient killed by car after escape

A mentally ill patient died this week after he was run over by a car while running out of Bhisho Hospital.

Yesterday provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo confirmed the “unfortunate incident” that took place on Wednesday.

A mentally ill man was run over by a car this week after he tried to leave the hospital Picture: FILE

“Unfortunately yesterday, a male patient went through perimeter fencing and while being followed by hospital staff and security he attempted to cross the road and was knocked down by a car – and was declared dead on the scene,” Kupelo said.

The 30-year-old patient died after 4pm on Wednesday.

He cannot be named until his next of kin has been informed.

“On behalf of the health MEC [Dr Pumza Dyantyi] and top management, the department wishes to send our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased,” Kupelo said.

Kupelo said this is not the first time a mentally ill patient has tried to escape from a regional hospital.

“Recently the department experienced a spate of psychiatric patients attempting to flee hospital premises by jumping over the fence. Bhisho has experienced three such incidents but security guards were prompt in preventing successful abscondment of patients,” he said.

Kupelo said patients are sometimes admitted in regional hospitals for a 72-hour observation period, but because of the strain on psychiatric hospitals, they are kept at regional hospitals longer than 72 hours.

He said in psychiatric facilities staff are adequately trained to treat and to restrain patients and that this is not always the case in regional hospitals.

Kupelo said his department was in the process of upgrading the security system at dozens of hospitals and clinics across the province.

The upgrade is to the tune of R128million.

“The department is strengthening security measures in a number of health facilities across the province. This is in line with preventing such occurrences [patients escaping] and the prevention of adverse events such as theft of government property,” he added.

The security upgrades include high security fences, double lockable vehicle gates, lockable pedestrian swing gates, sliding gates and guardhouses. —

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