The High Court in Pretoria will on Friday morning conclude the cross-examination of an expert witness, Dr Mvuyiso Talatala, who is testifying at the Life Esidimeni hearings.
Talatala earlier told the court that the NGOs did not record the identities of some patients after they were moved from the Life Esidimeni facilities in June 2016.
The health ombudsman revealed that the 144 patients died of hunger, dehydration, and neglect during and after they were moved from the Life Esidimeni facilities to ill-equipped and unregistered Non-Governmental Organisations in June 2016.
One of the patients Charity Ratsotso died while in the care of an NGO.
He was almost buried as a pauper after the NGO couldn’t trace the patient’s next-of-kin.
The legal representative of former Gauteng head of the Health Department, Advocate Russel Sibara, questioned Talatala who is a specialist psychiatrist.
Adv Sibara: “I know that there was a complaint about the late Charity Ratsotso that the family wasn’t notified about his death. The family was notified when he was placed and when he was discharged to Anchor. Do you know that doctor?
Dr Talatala: “Yes, I see counsel.”
Adv Sibara: “Now after the discharge, at first Mr Dorothy Franks denied that they had him in their facility. But I produced proof that he was produced to them. Do you agree with me that while he was at Anchor and he was identified as Charity Ratsotso, not an unknown patient?”
Dr Talatala: “Yes, my lady.”
Weight loss before succumbing to disease
During his Testimony on Thursday, Dr Talatala said that some patients lost significant weight before succumbing to a variety of diseases.
He said some patients died of gangrene, lung infection and pneumonia.
Talatala argued the transfer of critically ill patients like Virginia Makhaphela from the Life Esidimeni to ill-equipped NGOs could have contributed to their deaths.
He has also told the inquest that the condition of some of the patients did not permit their transfer to other NGOs, and shed light on unsuccessful attempts to caution different government stakeholders to prevent the Life Esidimeni tragedy.
He said some NGOs were not suitable to accommodate mental health patients with certain medical conditions.