Almost 100 mentally ill patients starved to death on the state’s watch
A total of 94 mentally ill patients died when they were moved from the licensed Life Esidimeni private homes to 27 unlicensed facilities.
Patients died of starvation and lack of water in the overcrowded nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) they were placed‚ according to the health ombudsman‚ Prof Malegapuru Makgoba.
He has found that the Department of Health was negligent when it moved 1‚900 patients from Life Healthcare facilities.
He said the number of fatalities was provisional as bodies remained unidentified in morgues and some families were still coming forward with the names of dead people. His report is titled 94 silent deaths and still counting.
Makgoba spent 80 hours listening to family members and inspectors during his investigation.
The NGOs were overcrowded and some did not have qualified staff with the requisite skills for the patients. This was in addition to a lack of safety and security and even proper heating in winter.
Families travelled from across the province to hear the details of why their loved ones died. One woman was sobbing as Makgoba spoke‚ shaking her head and wiping tears away.
See the full report here.