Esidimeni patients found at local NGO

Jack Bloom.

Towards the end of January, the DA Gauteng’s Shadow Health MEC, Jack Bloom, opened a missing person’s case at the Johannesburg Central Police Station to help locate 62 Life Esidimeni patients who had not yet been found.

“It is deplorable that more than 18 months since the tragedy unfolded, the Gauteng Department of Health still does not know the whereabouts of these vulnerable patients who will die without decent medical care,” the party said in a statement at the time.

“The latest police figure is 144 confirmed deaths of former Esidimeni patients. A higher priority is needed to find all the missing patients, many of whom may already have died in terrible circumstances.”

About two weeks later, Bloom said in a statement he had been informed by the police that they had found five of the patients listed missing since they were discharged from Life Esidimeni in mid-2016.

Three of these patients were found at the Mosego Home in Krugersdorp which the Health Ombudsman ordered to close after seven patients died there.

He went on to say that another patient was discharged from Mosego in October last year. According to the police, yet another patient is deceased, but with no details on the circumstances of his death provided.

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“I am horrified that three Esidimeni patients are still at one of the NGOs that Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba said should be closed ‘immediately as their continuity poses a high risk’,” Bloom said.

He added that Makgoba wrote about Freddie Collitz who died at Mosego Home and said the following: “He apparently had a wound to the head‚ blisters around the ankles and a sore on his nose. Additionally‚ photos show how wasted he was.”

Marina Jamnik-Schmidt, whose brother Nicholas died at the NGO‚ said a post mortem revealed that he was very thin.

Andrew Peterson testified at the Esidimeni arbitration hearings that when he saw his 69-year-old uncle Victor Truter at Mosego he was hungry, thirsty and in pain due to an untreated boil.

The Gauteng Health Department pledged to remove all Esidimeni patients from NGOs last year, but seems to have overlooked the three patients at Mashego.

“I have written today (13 February) to Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa to remove these patients immediately and place them at a reputable institution,” Jack said.

“I commend the police for finding some of the patients after I opened the missing person cases, and I hope further progress is made in finding the others.”

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Alanicka Lotriet

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