Monday, February 4, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid: Town Hill, Madmen Ran The Madhouse

My May 2003 reply to Town Hill's Dr. Walker: "I still don't know what rehabilitation my brother Fraser had during 9.5 years at Town Hill. Years ago I was told by Durban's Addington Hospital staff, that as rehabilitation had failed at Addington, they certified and sent Fraser to Maritzburg's Town Hill for rehabilitation. So far, for 16 years I've received nothing but evasions about Fraser's rehabilitation.

You propose sending me a psychiatric report, only if brain damaged Fraser gives permission. Although I asked what rehabilitation Fraser had at Town Hill, during his 9.5 years existence there, you ask me to query the rehabilitation which Maritzburg Mental Health may have recently done. [Never mind that Town Hill had mind-controlled Fraser with toxic drugs, and punished his happy wanderings in Maritzburg by often gaoling Fraser in closed wards and the forensic security block].

Regarding Fraser's 9.5 years at Town Hill:

1. What was Town Hill's rehabilitation programme for Fraser during the 9.5 years he resided in Town Hill, and how was Fraser's rehabilitation effected?

2. Why do Town Hill staff need permission for brain damaged Fraser to send a report to me, his only brother?

3. If Fraser declines permission for sending me reports, how do I get information / accountability from Town Hill regarding Fraser?

4. Why was Fraser discharged from Town Hill 5 years ago?

5. Who discharged Fraser from Town Hill?

Regarding Fraser's 5 years at Sunnyside Farm:

6. If I'm dissatisfied with Maritzburg Mental Health's rehabilitation of Fraser, how does Fraser get back to Town Hill?

In addition to your proposed report, I'd appreciate straight-forward answers to the above questions. At the end of the day, I'm left with Fraser after his carers have moved on."

Town Hill madhouse keepers were letting madmen run the madhouse. Hiding behind patient privacy and confidentiality, by asking me to get Fraser's permission for reports, madhouse keepers were obstructing my queries about apartheid abuses at Town Hill.

Three years before, when I'd queried Sunnyside Farm's management, they too said I could only get a psychiatric report from Fraser's carers, provided Fraser gave permission. So Fraser's carers needed permission from Fraser to provide me information about Fraser, despite the fact that Fraser was brain damaged, and lived in a sheltered, structured environment. I wondered who was madder - Fraser or his madhouse keepers?

It was the maddest rule I ever heard. It allowed madhouse keepers in apartheid and post apartheid SA to get away with abuses. There was no transparency. If madhouse keepers didn't want me to know Fraser's current condition, they said Fraser hadn't given permission for releasing a psychiatric report. Thus a madman, incapable of running his own affairs, had to give permission for his madhouse keepers to supply reports about the madman to his own family. Madmen definitely ran the madhouse, and the sane hid behind the insane.

My May 2003 letter to Maritzburg Mental Health: "At the time of Fraser's transfer from Town Hill to Sunnyside Farm, neither Town Hill, nor Maritzburg Mental Health, nor Sunnyside Farm informed me Fraser was sent to Sunnyside Farm, where he has resided for 5 years.


Over the years I've received little information from Sunnyside, as carers hide behind the ridiculous notion that brain damaged Fraser must give permission for me, Fraser's only interested relative, to receive information about Fraser.

I'm concerned Fraser's life is wasted at rural Sunnyside. Please refer to my February letter to Sunnyside Farm's principal, (unanswered), asking for Fraser to correspond with me more, and enquiring about Sunnyside Farm's reading, internet and email facilities?"

It was difficult for Fraser to make informed decisions if he was deprived of internet access.

Town Hill's Dr. King advised:

"- Fraser had privacy and confidentiality rights, preserving respect and dignity;
- Fraser's early rehabilitation at Town Hill was OT. (No longer offered). [Slave labour].
- Fraser attended daily workshop at Sunnyside Farm;
- Government and state subsidized rehabilitation facilities were not the best;
- Private sector rehabilitation facilities, funded by the patient's family were the best;
- Due to the government's deinstitutionalization programme, Town Hill multidisciplinary team had discharged stabilized Fraser to Sunnyside Farm;
- Should Fraser destabilize, he would be readmitted to Town Hill."

My July 2003 response: "When I lived in East London, Town Hill's superintendent Dr. Ross stopped replying to my query letters, and disallowed his staff replying to my letters. So, for about eight years, I had no reasonable contact from Town Hill's carers. In 1998, Town Hill didn't advise me that Fraser was being government deinstitutionalized, discharged, and force-moved to Sunnyside. [Dr. Ross had lied, telling me I would be informed]. I've received few letters from Fraser during his Sunnyside sojourn. I've no idea what happens to Fraser, who for doctor's privacy and confidentiality reasons must give permission for his carers to give information about himself to his family.

Over a year ago, a Sunnyside Indian social worker investigated Fraser's curatorship funds, then naively suggested Fraser waste his funds visiting me in NZ. There was no respect, dignity, confidentiality, nor privacy in her investigating Fraser's funds. Fraser's last letter informs me that Maritzburg Mental Health stores five year's worth of Fraser's accumulated pocket-money, which his curator regularly sends Fraser. There's no privacy, nor confidentiality in storage (and perhaps embezzlement?) of Fraser's pocket-money funds. Those funds would be better reinvested in Fraser's estate by his curator.

Privacy and confidentiality become murky when manipulated to obstruct communication with a patient's family. There was no respect, nor dignity for Fraser and me when former Town Hill superintendent Dr. Ross stopped communicating with me; when Town Hill detained Fraser in closed wards and the forensic security block for months, for piffling reasons; when Town Hill multidisciplinary team discharged and force-moved Fraser to Sunnyside, without informing me.

1. In 1998, why did Town Hill not inform me that Fraser was being government deinstitutionalized, discharged and force-moved to Sunnyside?

2. Is Fraser still certified? [In five years no one had bothered to tell me].

3. What institution is actually responsible for Fraser - Town Hill? or Maritzburg Mental Health? or Sunnyside? or District Health Services? or all four?

4. What individual(s) is (are) responsible for Fraser's rehabilitation, or lack of it?

5. Rehabilitation: What happens at Sunnyside daily workshop?

6. With confidentiality and privacy rights preventing effective communication, how do I get information about Fraser when no carer communicates with me? [Doctors misused Fraser's human rights to avoid my queries and to isolate Fraser from his family].

7. How do I get information about Fraser, if Fraser stops writing to me? (I'm deaf).

8. When Fraser destabilizes, or gets force-moved elsewhere, or gets terminally ill, or dies, who tells me?"

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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