Monday, 09 May 2022
CAPE TOWN – The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in the Western Cape is saddened to learn of Saturday night’s fatal shooting of two patients and a police officer at New Somerset Hospital in Cape Town and calls for the immediate release from duty of a nurse who intervened as she may still be bottling the shock which could later destroy her in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Apparently, at around 19h00 on Saturday night during the change of shifts, an altercation broke out between patients in one cubicle of a surgical ward not far from the entrance of the facility.
A police officer, who was guarding a patient in another cubicle, overheard the altercation and went to enquire. It was at that moment that one of the patients who was involved in the altercation immediately disarmed the police officer and fatally shot two patients and wounded the police officer, who later succumbed to the wounds at Groote Schuur Hospital.
The commotion, however, was brought to an end by the bravery act of a nurse manager who, upon hearing of the gun shots, went to the cubicle and calmed the shooter down and pleaded with him to hand over the gun to her. The patient handed the gun to the nurse. The patient was sedated by the nurse and both security and the police took over and arrested him.
While everybody hails the bravery of the nurse, DENOSA shudders to think of what could have happened to the nurse had the gunman turned the gun to her. Many other nurses were also at risk of being shot at, even by stray bullets.
As the nurse is still in hospital working as normal, DENOSA demands the immediate relief of the nurse from duty so that she gets counseling as soon as possible before she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Other nursing stuff and patients in the ward, too, should undergo counseling as the incident traumatized everybody inside the facility who could not leave because the incident was next to the entrance.
DENOSA also calls for the tightening of security laws especially as it pertains to the entrance of armed police officers inside facilities which are designated as gun-free zones.
While investigation will shed more light on what happened, DENOSA calls for a swift action to safeguard the safety of staff in the workplace. The incident just lays bare the extent of risk that healthcare workers and patients are faced with when guns are allowed inside healthcare centres.
On 9 February this year, a nurse at Tembisa Hospital in Gauteng was gunned down inside the hospital premises after a police officer gained entry into the facility with a gun.
Issued by DENOSA in Western Cape.
For more information, contact:
Eleanor Roberts, DENOSA Western Cape Provincial Chairperson.