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Ingutsheni workers jailed for patient abuse

by Mpumelelo Nyoni
06 Jun 2014 at 07:23hrs | Views
A MENTALLY ill man lost three teeth in a brutal assault by three hospital workers because he refused to eat his lunch, a court heard.

Ingutsheni Central Hospital support workers George Samambwa, 42, Vusumuzi Nzima, 36, and Chamunorwa Mugwagwa, 39, were yesterday jailed for two years each for the savage attack on Samson Ndlovu, 25.

Prosecuting, Kuvarega Munyoga told the Bulawayo Magistrates' Court that the trio "ironed out" disrespectful patients, a term they use for beating up their victims.

Ndlovu - who was sectioned under the Mental Health Act - was visited by his mother, Rebecca Muzorori, shortly before lunch on November 27, last year, and they shared some food which she brought with her.

When the hospital's lunch hour arrived, Ndlovu was served isitshwala - but he refused to eat, telling hospital staff he was full.

Munyoga said Ndlovu's refusal to eat infuriated Mugwagwa who then threatened to "iron him" for being disrespectful.

Samambwa, Nzima and Mugwagwa, the court heard, ganged up and choked Ndlovu until he fell to his knees. Samambwa slapped him several times in the face until he was lying on  the floor.

"They then took turns to kick him with booted feet several times on his stomach and face. Nzima and Mugwagwa dragged him to the treatment room where Samambwa forced him to spit his teeth into the toilet and then flushed them down the drain," Munyoga said.

The prosecutor said the three called a nurse and instructed him to inject their victim with a sleeping drug in a bid to cloud his memory. Ndlovu then fell unconscious for three hours.

Ndlovu's mother, who visited him two days later, raised the alarm after discovering his teeth were missing.
She told hospital management how Mugwagwa had ordered her to leave the hospital, while at the same time threatening to "iron out" her son.

Magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa said a deterrent sentence was necessary as cases of abuse against mentally unstable patients were often concealed.

"You've shown no remorse throughout the trial. You vehemently pleaded innocence despite the overwhelming evidence against you. Cases of abuse against mental patients are on the increase but every day they're swept under the carpet. A deterrent sentence is necessary as it sends a strong message to those who abuse the vulnerable," said the magistrate.

The trio had six months of their sentence conditionally suspended, and will each serve an effective 18 months.

Source - Chronicle

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