Mental patient ‘stolen’ from hospital

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter

A MENTAL patient has reportedly gone missing after he was “stolen” from Ingutsheni Central Hospital in Bulawayo by an unknown woman who convinced health authorities that she was his mother and sought to get him discharged.

Mr Welcome Moyo (44) from Emncwazini Resettlement Area on the outskirts of Bulawayo towards Figtree was admitted to the psychiatric hospital on January 19 and was taken away five days later.

His family now accuses the hospital management of negligence, but the authorities argue that his relatives are not being sincere.

The patient was released into the woman’s custody as mental patients are not independently discharged at psychiatric institutions in line with the country’s health policy.

The unknown elderly woman is reported to have claimed to be Welcome’s mother.

His uncle, Mr Gilbert Moyo, poured his heart out to Chronicle and expressed concern over his nephew’s whereabouts while revealing that the woman who took Welcome was not the real mother.

The family has reported the matter to the police who are treating the case as a kidnapping incident.

“What happened is that earlier this year, villagers in my community phoned me while I was at work and told me that my nephew had become violent and was beating up some girls near a tuck shop,” said Mr Moyo.

“So, I left my workplace and returned home where I locked him in the house and I returned to work.

“Some community members suggested that I take my brother to Ingutsheni Central Hospital.

At that moment, I didn’t have the money but they offered to assist in transporting him there.”

He said his nephew was first taken to United Bulawayo Hospitals where Covid-19 tests were conducted before admission to Ingutsheni on January 19.

“On the 24th, I was called by the hospital authorities to tell me that they had released Welcome to his mother”s custody,” said Mr Moyo.

“While his mother is alive, she is not in a position to go and collect him as she is bed-ridden.”

Mr Moyo said the following day on January 25, he visited the hospital to try and understand how his nephew was discharged from the institution but no one could give proper answers.

“No one could give me a convincing answer except that a woman who claimed to be his mother came for him on the day and brought him some new clothes.

I was told that he was discharged wearing a red t-shirt and brown pair of trousers,” said Mr Moyo.

“A nurse who was the last to see him said the woman who claimed to be his mother in her parting shot said ‘nurse, encourage him to take his medication because at home he doesn’t want to’.

The person was speaking in Shona, so that is how he disappeared.”

The family now queries why the hospital released Welcome to someone without traceable contacts.

The matter has been reported at Donnington Police Station in Bulawayo.

“The police are treating the matter as a kidnapping case.

So, we request that anyone who might have information that may lead to us locating my nephew to come forward,” said Mr Moyo.

“It was not the first time for us to take Welcome to Ingutsheni Central Hospital as we always do when he develops some episodes.”

Contacted for comment Ingutsheni Central Hospital clinical director, Dr Wellington Ranga, acknowledged the case but insisted that everything was done above board at the hospital.

“We reported the case to the police but the other side of the story is that when someone comes and they (the visitor) know each other with the patient, sometimes we wouldn’t want to scrutinise them,” he said.

“Even the patient acknowledged the woman was his mother.”

Dr Ranga seemed to shift the blame to the family saying there is something that is not adding up in the case.

“There is a bit of something that we want to be investigated because those guys know each other, but from my own judgement, there is something that is off,” he said.

“Since they are saying the woman who came is not the mother, we have requested that the mother presents herself to the hospital so that we confirm that indeed the person who took her is not the mother.”

Bulawayo deputy spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele said her office was not aware of the case. – @nqotshili.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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