I am horrified by the reported suicide of a 26-year-old pregnant woman at the Kopanong Hospital in Vereeniging who was admitted for mental illness.
The 7-month pregnant woman was admitted to Ward 6 on Thursday last week, but on Saturday morning her devastated mother was told she had committed suicide by hanging herself with a doek in the toilet. Her unborn baby died with her.
Poignantly, World Suicide Prevention Day was commemorated on 10 September.
Incompetence and misplaced priorities are to blame for the inadequate care of psychiatric patients at this hospital. When I visited in 2016 they had yet to finish a psychiatric ward that was supposed to be completed in 2007!
The situation now is that mental patients are often placed in ordinary wards because the one psychiatric ward for male patients is full.
Meanwhile, R115 million was wasted on incomplete wards that were built for the Covid-19 pandemic that now stand empty without a use.
There needs to be a full enquiry into this tragic death which highlights the lack of proper facilities for mental patients in our hospitals.
Assistance should also be provided for the burial as the family cannot afford to bury her. The DA will demand answers as to why psychiatric patients are still badly treated despite the Life Esidimeni tragedy where 144 patients died after being sent to unsuitable NGOs.
By Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health