Mental health care expert Professor Abel Pienaar has told the Life Esidimeni Inquest in Pretoria that the omission of crucial information in the patients’ files suggests a lack of proper care and neglect by the caregivers.
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 NGOs.
The Gauteng Health Department closed down the Life Esidimeni facilities in June 2016, citing financial constraints. This prompted the transfer of over 2 000 mental health patients.
Pienaar is being cross-examined on the report he compiled about the treatment of mental health patients.
“What I see in the note is at what state the mental care user was transferred. It might need some help but it’s not a thorough assessment. So in my case, if you ask where this report surfaced, I would say no medical history and also a number of pertinent issues are not very clear. It says physical examination none. It just says the patient shall continue in nursing care, but not saying what nursing care must be done,” adds Professor Pienaar.