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A MENTALLY unstable patient has gone missing after allegedly being chased away by staff at Tintswalo Hospital in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga, on Tuesday night.
The family of the patient, Noel Ndlovu, 35, of Cottondale Trust, said their woes started when he became aggressive, took off his clothes and threatened to assault everyone.
His wife, Patricia, told Sowetan that Ndlovu had been ill since 2005 and had been receiving treatment from the local clinic.
"As soon as we realised that he was becoming more violent, we called the police, who took him to Tintswalo Hospital.
"Nurses at the hospital accused us of trying to get them to care for my husband over the Christmas period. They claimed we were afraid of the burden of taking care of an unstable person during the festive season," Patricia said.
Ndlovu's sister, Linnet, said she was also at the hospital when the nurses gave them "the shock of our lives".
"The nurses said we were running away from taking care of our brother because it was Christmas, and we wanted to dump him on them," Linnet yesterday said.
She said a nurse gave Ndlovu an injection, which other nurses told Linnet was strong, and told them to take him home.
"He wanted to go to the toilet and a nurse refused to accompany him. He went into the toilet and never returned until today (yesterday)," Linnet said.
"We want our brother from the nurses who failed to be courteous to him. They even insulted us by saying our reason for bringing him to hospital was because we were afraid of the burden to be with him during Christmas. That was not true. He only needed medical help," Linnet said.
Mpho Gabashane, the Mpumalanga health department spokesperson, said he was not aware of the problem, but promised to investigate.
"Whether a patient is mentally ill or otherwise, they have to be treated professionally and in terms of standing rules. We are going to investigate what really transpired," said Gabashane.