29.09.94. My reply to Town Hill madhouse's social worker (who also couldn't spell my surname correctly) who'd posted me a list of alternative placement establishments for Fraser:
"The contents of your 19.09.94 letter are noted. You stated that I requested alternative placements for Fraser. That is incorrect.
For the record: AT NO STAGE DURING THE YEARS THAT FRASER HAS RESIDED AT TOWN HILL HOSPITAL, NOR DURING MY RECENT CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE HOSPITAL, HAVE I REQUESTED THAT TOWN HILL FIND ALTERNATIVE PLACEMENT FOR FRASER. TOWN HILL HOSPITAL AND FRASER'S CURATOR HAD SUGGESTED THAT FRASER LEAVE TOWN HILL TO RESIDE TEMPORARILY AT DURBAN MENTAL HEALTH.
I'd appreciate it if Town Hill would make the professional effort to answer my letter questions timeously."
I wondered what poppycock superintendent Dr. Ross was feeding his social worker. I wondered whether Fraser's curator had actually suggested placement change, or whether the idea was Town Hill's fantasy to use Fraser's curator as a ploy to dismiss Fraser, and to blind-side me.
At the end of September 1994, Dr Ross stated he wasn't allowing his medical doctors to waste their time replying to my questions. What a prick! Although I lived nearly 700 kays away in East London, he suggested I phone Town Hill, or make an appointment to see Fraser's Dr. Nar. He advised that Fraser could be transferred to another institution without my consent, but I would be informed.
Saying Town Hill would inform me would prove to be a lie.
Joker Dr. Ross's judgement was poor, as he refused to allow his doctors to give straightforward answers to my straightforward questions. What were they hiding? Dr. Ross's silence and stonewalling just angered me. I'm still angry years later. The apartheid state paid Dr. Ross and his state madhouse keepers to care for patients, and madhouse keepers were protected by the 1973 Mental Health Act. Dr. Ross's actions and omissions showed contempt for me and Fraser. Madhouse keepers could legally do what they liked with brain damaged citizen Fraser.
06.10.94. My reply: "Dr. Nar's report answered my question 19. Will someone in the 'team' please answer the rest of my questions, enabling me to understand Fraser's behaviour and Town Hill's management of Fraser? I don't expect long answers.
I'm 70% deaf, so your suggestion I discuss Fraser over the phone or by appointment wouldn't work for me. Hence my requests that my questions be answered in writing.
Your letter implies that Fraser's family isn't important, and that answering questions is too much effort to expect from people caring for Fraser.
I trust I'm wrong in these assumptions.
Your decisions about Fraser's future affect Fraser and his family forever, long after you and the 'team' forget about Fraser."
09.11.94. I continued: "As Dr. Nar only supervised Fraser briefly before his letter to me, and as things went wrong at Uiytkyk ward, I'd appreciate it if Uitkyk ward doctors, responsible for the years Fraser spent at Uitkyk, would answer my questions.
There'll no doubt be times in Fraser's life when the question of moving Fraser elsewhere will again arise. The decisions made by Town Hill staff affect Fraser and his family, and will continue to affect us long after Town Hill staff move on and forget about Fraser.
Trusting those responsible for Fraser when things went wrong, will specifically answer all my questions in writing."
No reply. Superintendent Dr. Ross's mind was like his punishment wards: closed.
A Town Hill social worker, after a plethora of placement suggestions and viewings said, "I don't know of any other suitable resources in Durban and surrounding areas, and therefore I'm at my wits end. Should you have any other suggestions please don't hesitate to contact me." That was the only time a Town Hill madhouse keeper ever asked me to help or collaborate with them.
A "place" manager seeing through Town Hill's manipulations said, "I'd recommend that Fraser is left at Town Hill, as they have all the qualified specialists necessary to attend to his needs and problems. We are far from Maritzburg, and we don't have qualified staff in the field needed for Fraser's problems here." That contradicted pressures Town Hill put on us to transfer Fraser to other state or NGO institutions. Fraser was damned if he stayed at Town Hill and damned if he left.
21.11.94. My letter to Fraser's curator bonis: "The Town Hill saga regarding sending Fraser elsewhere seems to have fizzled out for the time being, with Town Hill being on the defensive, offering tired platitudes about Fraser's condition and prognosis, without answering my specific questions. I'll let you know if anything crops up."
Eight years later, a Natal expat, psychiatric nurse told me in NZ: "In the new SA, Town Hill did everything it could to get rid of patients like Fraser." That partly explained Dr. Ross's Baaskap and Town Hill's manipulations, but it didn't explain Dr. Ross's silent spitefulness. It didn't delete the hurt and humiliation willfully caused to Fraser, nor delete the hurt, humiliation and wasted resources willfully caused to my family and Fraser's curator. For years afterwards, whenever I posted letters from NZ, Dr. Ross stayed silent. He spitefully decided I should lose contact with my brother Fraser's "rehabilitation," because he and his madhouse keepers disliked my questions and refused to answer them.
My one consolation was that my persistent queries had stopped Town Hill exiling Fraser away from KwaZulu-Natal to another province.
Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.