Wednesday, February 6, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid: Fifty Up, Town Hill Decertification

As Fraser's curator had sent me copies of Fraser's annual curatorship financial statements for the last fifteen years, I wrote to the curator: "Town Hill's Dr. Walker and Dr. King passed the buck to Maritzburg Mental Health, and washed their hands of Fraser. (Although 3 years ago, Sunnyside Farm management informed me that a Town Hill psychiatrist and nurses visited Sunnyside Farm monthly, to see patients and prescribe medicines).

This year, 2003, I've written several letters to Maritzburg Mental Health. (All unanswered). Judging from past experience, Sunnyside and Maritzburg Mental Health management seem to work on the principal that if my correspondence is ignored, or tardily answered after my promptings, then perhaps problems and my queries will vanish, or resolve miraculously. For months, both Town Hill doctors stonewalled my latest questions. Positively, some questions were eventually answered, with some reciprocity, better than the former superintendent Dr. Ross's refusal to communicate.

Upshot: Town Hill's Dr. Walker says Fraser is not certified.

I don't know how long Fraser has been decertified, where you fit in legally, and whether Town Hill has wasted your resources with you sending annual financial statements to the Supreme Court since Fraser's decertification.

Whatever happens, I'm still happy for you and your legal firm to continue administering Fraser's estate. [According to the Mental Health Act 2001, 'curator bonis' was called 'administrator.'] We are grateful for your interventions over the last 15 years, providing some stability for Fraser's precarious, unpredictable existence.

Let us know your decision regarding continued administration of Fraser's estate."

My September 2003 letter to the director, Maritzburg Mental Health:

"Please answer this letter and my four other 2003 letters. Please see the copy of Dr. Walker's recent letter, informing me my brother Fraser isn't certifed, and it's my responsibility together with Martitzburg Mental Health's to rehabilitate Fraser.

In the 9.5 years that Fraser was at Town Hill, Town Hill never formally asked me to rehabilitate Fraser. In the 5.5 years, so far, that Fraser has been at Sunnyside, Maritzburg / Sunnyside have never formally asked me to rehabilitate Fraser. In 1998, Town Hill didn't consult me when Town Hill secretly sent Fraser to Sunnyside. Nor had Maritzburg / Sunnyside ever told me of Fraser's decertification.

As Fraser recently had his fiftieth birthday, and as Fraser has been in Addington / Town Hill hospitals / Maritzburg MH care since 01.04.87, and as I'm older than Fraser, I'm concerned about his future. Fraser might outlive me, so I need to know his future is secure:


* Administered by his curator.
* Five year's excess pocket-money held by Maritzburg MH. What's Maritzburg MH doing to rectify the matter? (e.g. returning excess pocket-money to the curator for reinvestment in Fraser's estate).


* Policy / procedures re. Fraser communicating with me more. (e.g. letters, email, etc.)?
* Policy / procedures re. Maritzburg MH / Sunnyside timeously communicating with me when Fraser gets sick, destabilizes, absconds, side effects of neuroleptics, goes on holiday, dies, etc.? (Most of which has happened during Fraser's hospitalizations over the years).


* What rehabilitation is Fraser doing, and what is Maritzburg MH's rehabilitation plan for Fraser?
* Where do I as Fraser's nearest and only interested kin fit into Fraser's rehabilitation?


* As Fraser is decertified, and paying Maritzburg MH accommodation fees, and working in Sunnyside's gardens, will Fraser ultimately get a state pension (or other pension) for his years of labour and service to Maritzburg MH / Sunnyside?
* Please advise: e.g. projected number of year's service, pension amount, etc.
* If Fraser remains stable, will Fraser remain at Sunnyside / Maritzburg MH for the rest of his life?
* If Fraser destabilizes, will he be certified and returned to Town Hill again?...

PS. I knew Bulwer area reasonably well, as I lived in Durban for over 30 years. As a kid, I holidayed near Underberg. I once hiked up Sani Pass. Once, my wife and I holidayed in the hotel at the top of Sani Pass. It snowed, and the next morning our 4x4 Jeep slithered a long way down the pass.

Friends lived at Himeville. I once climbed Rhino Peak 'pass,' sprained my ankle, then staggered down another 'pass' to safety. As a teacher, I hiked with Glenwood HS boys in the Rhino Peak area. We camped in a cave.

Years later, I often filled my car with petrol at a Kokstad garage on our East London - Durban treks. My wife's family had many holidays near Bulwer."

October 2003. Maritzburg Mental Health director replied that Fraser spent all his pocket-money on cigarettes, tuck and toiletries; that Maritzburg Mental Health kept no excess funds; and that Fraser's curator sent Fraser's fees and pocket-money months in arrears. I was left wondering who to believe, Fraser or the director? The director enclosed a cost report itemizing Fraser's last five month's fees and pocket-money. The director ignored my contention that Maritzburg MH had saved five years' worth of Fraser's pocket-money. It was brain damaged Fraser's word against Maritzburg MH director's word. I let it pass and posted a copy of the directors' letter to Fraser's curator. I suspected the Indian social worker was remiss in enquiring about Fraser's funds from Fraser's curator, and that the Indian social worker needed a kick in the bum.

Regarding communications, the director said I could email Fraser via her email address. She'd send my emails to Fraser. The director said Sunnyside staff encouraged Fraser to write to me, but Fraser showed little interest in writing.

Fraser's "rehabilitation" was vague: including reading magazines, doing unpaid work in farm gardens, and walking around the farm, which was recently laagered by a security fence, preventing people like Fraser getting lost in the Berg.

Fraser was responding well to medications, and would only leave Sunnyside should he require frail-care at another institution. Should that happen I'd be timeously contacted. Should Fraser's funds run out, Maritzburg MH would help him apply for a state pension or grant.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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