Families of the 140-plus psychiatric patients who died after being moved from Life Esidimeni facilities to irregularly registered non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have suffered so much that some themselves are now dying.
Here, Health-e has only profiled 10 former Life Esidimeni (LE) patients, and the circumstances around their deaths, but it provides a glimpse into the dignity denied to both mental health care users and their families before, during and after the fatal move.
After about two months of harrowing testimony, the arbitration hearings into the Life Esidimeni tragedy came to a close last week. But families are no closer to the closure they want and need.
There have been 94 unlawful deaths of mentally ill patients following the Gauteng Health Department’s decision to have them transferred to various non-governmental organisations or sent back to their families.
Exactly a year after the start of the arbitration hearings that sought justice for the families of the dead Life Esidimeni patients, the esteemed The Lancet medical journal has released a global mental health report condemning the local disaster as “tragic”.
The decision of Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke in the Life Esidimeni arbitration is an important landmark following more than two years of resistance, negotiation, confrontation, heart break and horror, writes Section27 attorney.
Following a litany of lies, “murderous” decisions, agonising deaths and torturous transfers, an amount of R1.2-million will now be paid to each of the families affected by the Gauteng Department of Health’s decision to move mentally ill patients out of Life Esidimeni facilities.
No action has been taken against 11 health officials implicated in Esidimeni crisis, former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu who made the decision that led to 141 deaths remains illusive and the “bankrupt” Gauteng Health Department is currently unable to fund a compensation ruling.