A BROKEN stethoscope saved a Nelson Mandela Bay doctor’s life when he was allegedly attacked and nearly strangled by a patient in Livingstone Hospital’s casualty department.
The mentally disturbed patient allegedly started swearing and hurling insults at the doctor while he was attending to other patients in the non-trauma unit.
Witnesses said the security guards did nothing to help.
The doctor did not want to be named.
The witnesses said the patient "went crazy” when he saw the doctor and started attacking him at about 11pm on Wednesday.
A staff member, who did not want to be named, said another doctor had to pull the patient away from the doctor.
"It was weird how it all happened. The man went crazy and started attacking [the doctor] for no apparent reason,” she said.
"It looked like he wanted to strangle him but the stethoscope around his neck snapped in two.”
According to the injury on duty report filed that night, which The Herald has seen, the patient "grabbed [the doctor] by the T-shirt around the neck, pulled and smacked him with his right palm over his left temple”. While the doctor escaped with minor injuries – a slight bruise and a laceration on his left hand – he was reportedly "upset but stable”.
The incident raised concerns over the security of hospital staff because the guards on duty had allegedly refused the doctor’s pleas for help while he was being verbally assaulted. The doctor who examined the assaulted doctor intervened by restraining the patient.
The incident was not the first time the doctor had been attacked as he had once been kicked in the stomach by a patient.
Health Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said he was not aware of the incident.