A patient has been arrested for allegedly stabbing two female doctors and a patient at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley, Northern Cape.
The incident allegedly occurred at the hospital's casualty unit.
Spokesperson for the Northern Cape police Captain Tessa Jansen said the three were stabbed on Friday around 20.30.
She said the patient was later arrested.
"[He] will soon appear in the Kimberley Magistrate's Court on three charges of attempted murder. Police investigations are continuing," she said.
The acting Head of Department of Health in the Northern Cape Riaan Strydom visited the hospital on Sunday night to meet the staff on duty. It is alleged that the perpetrator was a well-known patient prone to substance abuse.
"According to the preliminary report received, a known male patient prone to substance abuse had an epileptic fit, whilst being treated at the Casualty section.
"The patient became verbally aggressive towards the staff, resulting in the stabbing of the two female doctors. The security officers suppressed the aggressive patient and doctors administered sedation.
"The two medical doctors are recovering well and receiving psycho social support. The SAPS responded swiftly and confiscated the weapon used in the alleged incident. The department will continue to work closely with SAPS in dealing with this matter. The Department will conduct safety and security assessment for patients and staff at all health facilities. The department will install additional metal detectors at all 24-hour health facilities admitting high risk… aggressive patients," said the department.
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) condemned the stabbing, saying it was yet another example of where public hospitals in the country, "… are failing to adequately protect staff".
SAMA chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee said the two female doctors were stabbed in their arms.
"It's unknown where the other patient was stabbed. The incident occurred in the hospital's casualty ward."
SAMA chairperson Dr Angelique Coetzee said:
Incidents such as these erode the confidence of doctors that they are able to perform their duties in a safe environment. For how long will provincial authorities stand by and watch innocent doctors and patients be subjected to these types of incidents? It's unfair on them, and it's unfair on the patients who need treatment. Something urgent is needed to address safety and security issues not only at this hospital but at all provincial facilities throughout the country.
"Doctors on duty in casualty wards are providing critical services to patients, and they cannot be looking over their shoulders every minute, concerned that they might be the next victim. Hospital management has a duty to protect these healthcare workers, and when incidents such as this occur, they are obviously failing in that duty."