Tuesday, February 5, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid: Town Hill, Pecked In The Head

Dr. King's Town Hill response: "Your questions neither deserve nor warrant attention..."

Fraser wasn't the only Town Hill graduate gepik in die bol: pecked in the head. This "doctor" was completely inhumane. This apartheid throwback fobbed me off to Maritzburg Mental Health. Dr. Mengele would've been proud of him.

My July 2003 response: "By your own admittance, my brother Fraser was transferred from Town Hill to Sunnyside in 1998, without consulting me, or informing me timeously. Your words: 'Given the government's deinstitutionalization programme, once Fraser's position stabilized, it was the multidisciplinary team's decision that he be discharged.' [Apartheid mindset hadn't changed: hide in the 'team,' blame the law, and be irresponsible].

I've said it before: Fraser has no relatives in SA. I'm Fraser's only living relative interested in Fraser. I note you refuse to answer my previous eight reasonable questions. You don't have the professional integrity, courtesy, nor moral courage even to inform me whether Fraser is still certified, or not. Although Fraser resided in Town Hill for 9.5 years, and former superintendent Dr. Ross refused corresponding with me for years, you follow the same stonewalling pattern. You hide behind patient confidentiality, and pass the buck to Maritzburg Mental Health.

Given your heartless response, I know it would be too much to expect you to behave like a human being: To imagine what it was like in 1987, seeing the results of a brother bashed by a Zulu trucker [during a State-of-Terror]. To see a thick pool of brother's blood on Verulam Road. To see his pulped face; smashed head - coma; broken limbs. To later witness iatrogenic Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome at Addington Hospital. To see months of agonized recovery. To see his Achilles tendons surgically hacked, enabling him to hobble again. [To see him concussed after a Zulu nurse aide allowed him to fall from his wheel chair. To see his head stitched again, as Addington / Durban Mental Health Society didn't supervise his 'rehabilitation' properly at a Durban halfway house, so he drunkenly smashed his head again on a road]. To see him certified to Town Hill, after nearly two years at Addington.

To see Fraser detained in closed wards and the forensic security block for months at the discretion of Town Hill staff. Even placed in a seclusion room with bare walls and plastic potty for company, for piffling reasons by Town Hill. To see him zombied by neuroleptics, at the discretion of medical staff, [as well as suffering other neuroleptic side effects]. To see him locked up with felons, [having his liberty willfully deprived by Town Hill madhouse keepers]. After 9.5 years, to have Fraser shunted off to Maritzburg Mental Health, without Town Hill even bothering to contact me. I found out, belatedly, because Town Hill returned to NZ one of my letters to Fraser.

I wish you well, and hope you never have a member of your family brain damaged and placed in the care of people like yourself, contemptuous of patient's families, and their right to know what's going on with hospitalized relatives. I'm left wondering what you and your professional colleagues are hiding, as you refuse to answer my questions.

I trust you'll have a change of heart."

August 2003. My letter to Town Hill's Dr. Walker: "By now you'll've received a copy of my response letter to Dr. King. If you were in my position you'd find the situation oppressive and unacceptable. [This was after the reforming Mental Health Care Act 2001, and repeal of the notorious Mental Health Act 1973, and repeals of other apartheid, racist, homeland Mental Health Acts].

Imagine if you were the only concerned relative of a brain damaged brother whose carers refused to communicate with you. The carer team deinstitutionalizes your brother without the courtesy nor professional integrity to inform you. Years later, after your queries, psychiatrist Dr. King concludes that your reasonable questions neither deserve nor warrant attention, and fobs you off to Maritzburg Mental Health, where carers had sent your brother. Your brother's carers remain evasive and oppressively silent (hiding behind patient confidentiality and privacy), instead of decent communication with you.

That's my experience with Town Hill. This year, I've already posted query letters to Maritzburg Mental Health, but to date I've received no replies from Maritzburg Mental Health. Dr. King's fobbing off is therefore untenable.

Please specifically answer my July letter questions addressed to Dr. King, by return of post, as my questions pertain to Town Hill's responsibilities to my brother Fraser, and his nearest kin - me."

On Fraser's fiftieth birthday, eight months after my initial queries, Dr. Walker admitted that Fraser was not certified. The implications were that Fraser was no longer a danger to himself and others, had insight into his brain damaged condition, and his judgement had improved over the years. Dr. Walker stated that, by law, once a patient had stabilized, the patient had to be discharged. (Another gepik in die bol doctor hiding behind the new law). Dr. Walker praised former Town Hill staff's placement of Fraser at Sunnyside Farm, and blamed patient's families for not taking responsibility for finding patients' accommodation upon discharge.

There was nothing praiseworthy about doctors mindlessly following bad laws, then blaming a patient's family, who madhouse keepers hadn't bothered to contact for years, despite many query letters from the family.

During the time Fraser had existed at Town Hill, whenever the subject of finding alternative accommodation for Fraser arose, Town Hill did much, "I'm telling you..." rather than, "I'm asking you..." At various times passively-aggressive madhouse keepers told me that Fraser would have to go to Kimberley, or Komati at Queenstown, or Fort England at Grahamstown, or a Durban halfway house. Town Hill seemed to have no workable policy nor procedures to inspire or motivate a patient's family to cooperatively work with madhouse keepers to find the best possible accommodation for stabilized patients. Only once in 9.5 years did a social worker suggest I help her find accommodation for Fraser, when she was at her "wits end."

Dr. Walker fobbed me off to Maritzburg Mental Health, risibly suggesting I trek from NZ to SA to make personal enquiries, or send someone to enquire for me. Dr. Walker didn't apologise for Town Hill not informing me of Fraser's decertification and discharge over five years before.

My September 2003 reply to Dr. Walker:

"To your credit, over 5.5 years after Fraser was forced to leave Town Hill, you're the first carer to actually inform me, after my promptings, that Fraser is decertified. Maritzburg Mental Health haven't yet informed me that Fraser is decertified. That's taking privacy to risible extremes. Although Town Hill decertified Fraser and sent him to Maritzburg Mental Health, for which you praise Town Hill staff, you suggest I no longer communicate with you, and instead I must contact Maritzburg Mental Health. But Maritzburg Mental Health haven't answered my letters this year.

Your contention that, 'the family is primarily responsible together with other agencies e.g. Maritzburg Mental Health' for Fraser's rehabilitation, or lack of it, is evasive. Fraser had existed 9.5 years at Town Hill, with minimal rehabilitation, by Town Hill's own admittance, although Addington's Dr. Luiz had certified Fraser to Town Hill for rehabilitation in the first place. Town Hill never asked me to formally participate in Fraser's rehabilitation. Passing the rehabilitation buck to family and Maritzburg Mental Health after Fraser was forced out of Town Hill is tendentious. Fraser has existed at Sunnyside for 5.5 years. During that time no Maritzburg Mental Health staff have ever asked me to formally participate in Fraser's rehabilitation.

The awesome thing about Fraser's certified 'madness' and decertified sanity is that the tone, style, content of his letters to me during his 'mad' and sane years have remained unchanged."

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Pietermaritzburg Mental Health Society.


Mark JS Esslemont said...

Jan 2011: I received two emails from one of Fraser's old Durban North mates saying that he & some of Fraser's old pals visited Fraser annually, took Fraser for lunch & one allowed beer at Bulwer's Nip Inn & brought Fraser new clothes & goodies. Fraser loved sweets & enjoyed watching Bulwer skydivers.

He praised Fraser saying Fraser was in extremely good health & that Fraser played a mean game of pool.

Good on Fraser's old Durban North mates for visiting Fraser.

I wondered what Fraser's so called carers at Town Hill mad house, who planned forcibly transferring Fraser to Queenstown's Komani loony bin during apartheid, thought of that?


Mark JS Esslemont said...

By 2017 Dr King no longer worked at Town Hill. Senior staff were black & Indian staff. Like Dr King, Town Hill apartheid throwback, white staff had pontificated insultingly, then left.

Mark JS Esslemont said...

By 2017 Dr Walker had also left Town Hill.