Ingutsheni Central Hospital in Bulawayo has run out of sedative drugs, which are important in suppressing violent behaviour in psychiatric patients.
Staff at the hospital said last week, two nurses were beaten up by patients who are not being given drugs to calm them.
“There are no drugs to sedate the mentally ill patients at the hospital. Matrons are forcing nurses to work under these conditions and threatening to dismiss them if they don’t comply.
“Last week two nurses were beaten up by violent patients and the matter was swept under the carpet. The limited tranquilisers that are available have expired but they are still being administered on patients yet they don’t have any effect,” said a source.
Ingutsheni Hospital does not charge patients for its services and the institution depends entirely on the government’s budgetary allocation for its recurrent expenditure and capital projects.
Hospital authorities have on several occasions appealed for donations from well-wishers to cater for the needs of patients at the institution.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa recently expressed concern over acute food and medicine shortages at Ingutsheni Central Hospital in Bulawayo and said the government was struggling to provide for the increasing number of patients at the institution.
The troubles facing the institution have been compounded by some of the patients who have since made the hospital their permanent home for various reasons.
Reports of the drug shortage emerged as a patient at the hospital reportedly killed herself by covering her head with a plastic bag after a doctor had refused to discharge her.
Sources at the hospital said the patient, only identified as Paida had demanded to be discharged before she decided to take her life at about 5.30PM on Saturday last week.
“The lady committed suicide because the doctor who was attending to her refused to give her leave of absence because she was a prostitute.
“She had been discharged earlier but was brought back by her family.
“When the doctor insisted that she was not going home, she covered her head with a plastic and covered her body with a blanket at about 5.30PM.
“At that time the day shift nurses were waiting to hand over to their colleagues who were on night shift,” said a source at the hospital.
The source said the nurses were alerted by other patients who heard her gasping but they found her dead.
The hospital’s public relations officer, Mrs Vongai Chimbwindi yesterday declined to comment and referred questions to the clinical director, a Dr Ranga.
Dr Ranga, who demanded questions in writing on hard copy also declined to comment, saying he needed time to gather facts