A patient at the Polokwane Provincial Hospital shot and injured a nurse on Friday before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life, according to the Limpopo health department.
The patient had arrived from another hospital on a planned patient transport vehicle for his renal dialysis when the incident happened.
In a video posted to the department’s Facebook page, provincial Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba told the SABC everyone was devastated by what happened.
A nurse had been in a bathroom next to the change room in the renal unit around 17:00 when the patient, who visited the unit three times a week, took out a firearm.
“The nurse was lying injured but alive. He is stable, he is okay. I was talking to the surgeons now,” Ramathuba told the public broadcaster.
“Unfortunately, the patient took his life. Of course, where I am sitting I have many questions… this is a patient referred from our periphery hospitals.”
The MEC said that when the “planned” ambulances arrived, they were usually not searched.
She questioned why the referring hospital would have allowed a patient access to the initial facility and then the ambulance with a firearm. Police had told her the firearm was legal.
“It means in future we will start searching patients on ambulances which becomes bizarre.”
Ramathuba said it was not clear whether the man had come to the hospital to commit suicide.
He was a chronic patient and she speculated he may have been in final stages of renal failure. ward, injuring people and later killing himself…
“The South African Police Service (SAPS) in Polokwane are investigating an attempted murder and inquest cases which occurred in the Polokwane Provincial Hospital on Friday, the 23rd August 2019,” Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said.
“It was alleged that at about 5.30pm on Friday afternoon, a patient was transported by ambulance from Venda to Polokwane Provincial Hospital for medical treatment. On arrival at the hospital, ‘he took out a firearm and randomly fired shots within the ward’ according to hospital staff and other witnesses.’”
“During that process, a 32-year-old on-duty male nurse was shot at several times.
“Soon after that, another gunshot was heard and later, the patient was found on the floor of the ward in a pool of blood and the firearm lying next to his body.
“Police were notified and reacted swiftly to the scene of crime. The deceased was certified dead at the scene and the firearm used was confiscated.
“The preliminary police investigations have revealed that it is a licensed firearm belonging to the deceased.”
“The man was identified as a businessman, aged 36, from Thohoyandou. The motive behind the incident was not clear at this stage, but the police investigation was ongoing,” Ngoepe said.