Thursday, October 29, 2009

South African Tragedy: Part 5

I should be surprised, but really I'm not.

So Tuesday Kuselwa and Mavis go to the hospital to be with Lily* when she is moved to Sive Nathi. They wait and wait and wait. They are told that when the ambulance driver is ready he will take them. They wait and wait and wait some more. Eventually at 16:30 he is ready but needs the phone number of Sive Nathi before he will leave. The hospital does not have it. The social worker can't be reached. Mavis calls me and i find it for her.
They phone to confirm that Sive Nathi are expecting them. Affirmative.

So? all systems go right?

No. Now the ambulance driver has disappeared. They wait and wait. They ask and are told he will come back. Eventually Mavis leaves to be with her children. Kuselwa waits some more. She ends up spending the night in the chair next to Lily's bed.

I can not believe the complete disregard these people have for this woman. How can you care so little? Even forgetting the fact that they have ruined her life and destroyed her child, it is shocking to treat someone like that. As if her time means nothing. As if her comfort means nothing. She is missing work to be there because they told her to, they don't give a dam.

Eventually yesterday at mid day the ambulance dropped them off at Sive Nathi.

It gets worse.

Sive Nathi looked at Lily and said they can't care for her. She needs medical attention daily, they only have a doctor visit once a week. Surely her condition was communicated before they got there? Before they approved her arrival?

And so Kuselwa and Lily waited and waited again for the ambulance to return and take them back to Stellenbosch Hospital.

False hope is cruel. What choices are left for this child?

I spoke to the social worker today and she reckons that Lily does not need to see a doctor daily at all. If she was ill, sure, but she is not. She thinks everyone is avoiding taking Lily because of the legal issues surrounding her story. They are scared to get involved. How sad is that? Fortunately the social worker has really taken this case to heart and I know that she will do everything in her power to find a place.

* the saddest thing ever. Mavis told me she went to the hospital on the weekend for the first time in a while. She said when she said hallo to Lily, Lily began to cry - silently - then she calmed down. When Mavis said goodbye she began crying again. Also when they were packing her things and preparing to leave the hospital on Tuesday she cried again. It seems that incredibly, she must have some cognicense of what is going on. I'm not sure if this is heartbreaking and hopeful or just plain heartbreaking, but I do know that this little girl absolutely needs to have company, to be spoken to, to be stimulated.


po said...

This story leaves me speechless. When I imagine this happening to me I am not sure I could survive. Those women, how do they live through all this?

Anonymous said...

What shocks me even more is that we're not really even THAT surprised by stories like this anymore. How many people's first reaction will not be complete outrage, but a resigned "typical". It's stories like this that make my mother (a nurse) ashamed to associated with this field.

Caz is there anything any of us can do to help with the situation?

Flying Lessons said...

I just read the whole story and it breaks my heart. And makes me SOOO angry.
I admire you for fighting for this child and family. And I hope that if something like this ever comes across my path I would also be able to help. My reaction to things like this is avoidance because I don't have the courage to face so much pain.

Bron said...

This story is breaking my heart. Living in the UK I realise how if this was happening here, it would be national news. If there is anything that could help, donations etc, please let me know.

Simply-Mel said...

Caz, I think I must have missed the original post about Lily. Can you email the link where I can be caught up?

I have been part of a similiar scenario with a friends child that was shunted from one hospital to another care facility to another hospice and finally my friend took her home. The system is terribly flawed and the humanity of patients is stripped and thrown away daily. Heartbreaking. Let us know how we can help.

po said...

Bron it is so true, if this story was in the UK it would be known by everyone. The tragedy is over there nobody knows, there is no public outrage, the poor girl is just a statistic.

Bruce said...

I think this all sums up one thing rather poignantly. In the end you cannot trust in the institional infrastructure that our societies have led us to beleive in. When it come right down to it, you can only really rely on family, friends and your yourself. Everything else is profit and ego driven, and there no empathy in that model of care.

Gill said...

Oh Caz, this story just breaks my heart. I am so glad that they have you and the social worker in their corner. Totally agree with Bruce's comment.

Tamara said...

It's disgusting that people can have so little regard for another person's life or even time.

I am glad that this family has you in there corner, caring deeply and continuing to fight.