A patient at the Polokwane Provincial Hospital shot and injured a nurse on Friday before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life, according to the Limpopo health department.
The patient had arrived from another hospital on a planned patient transport vehicle for his renal dialysis when the incident happened.
In a video posted to the department’s Facebook page, provincial Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba told the SABC everyone was devastated by what happened.
A nurse had been in a bathroom next to the change room in the renal unit around 17.00pm when the patient, who visited the unit three times a week, took out a firearm.
“The nurse was lying injured but alive. He is stable, he is okay. I was talking to the surgeons now,” Ramathuba told the public broadcaster.
“Unfortunately, the patient took his life. Of course, where I am sitting I have many questions… this is a patient referred from our periphery hospitals.”
The MEC said that when the “planned” ambulances arrived, they were usually not searched.
She questioned why the referring hospital would have allowed a patient access to the initial facility and then the ambulance with a firearm. Police had told her the firearm was legal.
“It means in future we will start searching patients on ambulances, which becomes bizarre.”
Ramathuba said it was not clear whether the man had come to the hospital to commit suicide.
He was a chronic patient and she speculated he may have been in final stages of renal failure.