The Durban and Coastal Mental Health Home has been implicated in another scandal. This time family claims that negligence by staff has led to the death of a 24-year-old man. The family claims he died after suffocating during an epileptic seizure.

In a written response the Durban and Coastal Mental Health said they were aware of the case, but denied allegations of negligence, saying that the patient died of “natural causes.”

Thoko Bothela says her son died fighting for his life. Bothela believes he fell on his face while having a seizure at night and was unable to breathe.

A cleaner found his body the following morning.

Bothela says her son often complained about staff negligence when he had seizures. “From our understanding Ntando had a fit and fell from his bed. The mattress scratched his chest and that caused him not to be able to breathe because his face was facing down. If anyone was working at night they would have been able to see this.

“When we got there I saw my son at the mortuary van. I saw him lying there and that broke my heart. The family believes staff did not administer Ntando’s medication correctly and this worsened his condition.”

The family wants the facility closed.

“Since government subsidizes these companies, why don’t they check if they are using the monies correctly? If they fail to monitor Durban mental they should close this institution down because it’s not helping the community. I ask that the government intervenes or shuts this institution down,” says a relative, Jabulani Ngcobo.

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