A fake medical student who turned out to be a high school drop out duped five KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) hospitals and clinics as she worked for two years without being discovered.
The 23 year old young woman identified as Nokwanda Ndlovu, convinced authorities that she was a Wits University student and was given a job. She went from ward to ward performing duties as required, gave patients prescriptions and stitched them up when needed.
According to the Sunday Times, the woman claimed to be an orphan and desperately needed a job.
After being arrested and freed on bail, the woman went on to convince a small clinic around Pietermaritzburg and treated patients for a living.
Ndlovu worked as a medical intern at Benedictine Hospital, Nongoma, when she was just 20. She moved to Nongoma Hospital between November 2017 and February 2018, then Hlabisa Hospital later that February. She managed to move from hospital to hospital without any suspicion being raised about her work.
She got a job at Nkandla Hospital in June 2019, and worked until August before she left.
But luck ran out on her when she got a job at Hlengisizwe Community Health Centre in Mpumalanga township, Hammarsdale when a member of the community she grew up in opened the lid about her shenanigans.
A nurse working at Benedictine Hospital told the Sunday Times that Ndlovu came as a student studying at university to gain experience as the hospitals in the rural areas are always understaffed. She was allowed to live in the doctors quarters as she was perceived to be part of them.
Ndlovu mastered her tricks well as she would leave whenever universities open.
A nurse in Nkandla who worked with the accused says Ndlove worked in the outpatient department, the one of the most crucial departments at a medical facility.
“All of us knew that something was just not right about her. She did not know how to stitch patients, she did not know the most basic medical processes like reading blood pressure, the difference between diastolic or systolic, what each of those mean – she had no idea.”
Nokwanda Ndlovu did not know most of the prescriptions and did not suggest treatment.
Another nurse said: “She told us she was an orphan so we all felt pity for her and I think that clouded our judgment. She had no place to live so they let her stay at the doctors’ quarters.
“She was a nice girl, but after a few weeks there was gossip, because she only had two sets of clothes, and we have had students but that is rare. She gave us a sense that she was in transit. She also could not insert a catheter bag, that was strange.”