Wednesday, October 20, 2021
HomeMedico-LegalLife Esidimeni deaths: ‘Not the fault of Health MEC’

Life Esidimeni deaths: ‘Not the fault of Health MEC’

Former Gauteng Health MEC Dorothy Qedani Mahlangu’s counsel argued this week that the Life Esidimeni deaths could not be attributed to her. Advocate Laurence Hodes said that even before the department moved patients to NGOs, mentally ill patients were dying at Life Esidimeni facilities.

Hodes told the Life Esidimeni inquest, headed by Judge Mmonoa Teffo, that from 2012 to 2017, an average of 80 deaths a year were recorded at Life Esidimeni facilities, News24 reports. The inquest is sitting to determine if anyone can be held liable for the deaths of at least 140 mental healthcare patients moved from Life Esidimeni to ill-equipped NGOs.

Hodes also accuse the Esidimeni Groupof moving patients without their medical files and clothes, and overcharging the government.

In cross-examining former MD of the Life Esidimeni Group, Dr Morgan Mkhatshwa, Hodes said that after the patients were moved, 140 died in 18 months. “You cannot attribute any particular deaths to the conduct of Dorothy Qedani Mahlangu,” Hodes said.

Mkhatshwa said the Life Esidimeni facilities usually recorded high death rates during winter, especially in patients with comorbidities. He said the facilities offered patients flu vaccines in winter as a form of protection, adding: “In every facility, there will be death. I would not say people would not have died if they were at Life Esidimeni.”


News24 article – Life Esidimeni deaths can't be attributed to me, Qedani Mahlangu tells inquiry (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Life Esidimeni: Search continues for 8 missing mental health patients


Yet another postponement for Life Esidimeni hearing


The long and painful road to the Life Esidimeni inquest


R65m in unpaid Life Esidimeni compensation


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Receive Medical Brief's free weekly e-newsletter.

* indicates required