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Pregnant woman found hanging from hospital toilet door



A Gauteng mother is reeling in shock after her seven-month-pregnant daughter was found hanging from the door of a hospital toilet.

Kedibone Thamae from Phomolong Section in Sharpeville said her daughter Refilwe, 26, showed signs of mental illness when she was taken to Kopanong Provincial Hospital in Vereeniging by ambulance on Thursday.

She stayed with her daughter at the hospital until the Friday evening.

She said: “She begged me not to leave her. However, I told her that she needed help, and I assured her that I would come back again.

But it was the last time she saw her daughter alive.

“It was about 03:00 [on Saturday] when the police knocked on my door. I realised that I had missed calls from the hospital. The police said I was needed at the hospital to sign for Refilwe’s operation as she was about to give birth,” she said.

She said she could feel something was amiss at the hospital. Nurses took her to another room.

“They told me that my daughter had hanged herself with a scarf in one of the toilets,” she said.

Thamae said she was shocked by the death of her first-born child and her grandson.

She added:

Refilwe was excited when she went past five months in her pregnancy. This was her first successful pregnancy after she had previously had two miscarriages. I still cannot believe she took her life.

Gauteng health department spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said Refilwe was admitted to a maternity ward where sedation and restraints were prescribed and applied.

“The patient was later nursed in a side ward because crying babies triggered her condition,” he said.

When a team conducted midnight rounds, Refilwe was not in bed. She was later found hanging in the bathroom.

“The incident has been reported to the police, which has already opened an inquest docket. The department’s quality assurance unit will also conduct an internal investigation. The internal process takes 60 days to conclude the case independent of the police investigation,” he said.

The DA’s spokesperson on health in Gauteng, Jack Bloom, said incompetence and misplaced priorities were to blame for the hospital’s inadequate care of psychiatric patients.

“The situation now is that people with a mental health condition are often placed in ordinary wards because the hospital has one psychiatric ward for male patients, which is full,” he said.

Police comment could not be obtained by the time of publication and will be added once received.




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