Family in anguish as doctor shortage causes referral delays

2019-10-16 06:01
Phyllis Nel (80) and her grandson Alan Ferreira (34), who needs a referral letter to the Greys neurological department for an assessment.PHOTO: NTANDOYENKOSI DLAMINI

Phyllis Nel (80) and her grandson Alan Ferreira (34), who needs a referral letter to the Greys neurological department for an assessment.PHOTO: NTANDOYENKOSI DLAMINI

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AN ORIBI Village family’s intense prayers for a referral letter from Edendale Hospital to the Grey’s Hospital neurology department for an assessment remains unanswered.

The family of Alan Ferreira (34) said they have been to Grey’s Hospital a number of times to seek assistance following Ferreira experiencing uncontrollable tremors. According to the family, Ferreira is a mental health patient who receives a Sassa grant.

Family member Yolande Villa said Ferreira is suffering from an unknown condition, stating that he has tremors of the voice, head and hands.

“We have been to Edendale Hospital with him a few times. He was to join the Green Clinic at Edendale and be referred to the Grey’s neurological department for assessment, however this has not happened due to the shortage of doctors at Edendale,” said Villa.

She explained that on one visit to the hospital, Ferreira was given medication for epilepsy, which brought on full convulsions.

“It was something he has never had before. He was rushed back to hospital by an ambulance just to be given another date to come back and still no further investigation or help,” said Villa.

Ferreira was raised by his 80-year-old grandmother, Phyllis Nel, whom he still lives with.

Speaking to the Fever, Nel appeared weary as she explained the impact Ferreira’s health has had on her own well-being.

“I am sometimes unable to cope with his moods and the outbursts caused by his frustration due to these uncontrollable tremors.”

Nel said Ferreira’s frustration sometimes leads to him trying to self-harm, adding: “The epileptic fit is even worse, I always have to be here to make sure he does not harm himself.”

Nel said that, being a woman of a certain age, she is also on medication and getting Ferreira the help he needs would make life much easier for her.

The family emphasised that Ferreira could have a neurological disorder, which can include damage to the nervous system. They added that a damaged nerve is said to manifest itself in problems with behaviour, body control, memory, and mood; which is why they have been praying for a referral letter to secure a neurological assessment for Ferreira in order to get him the help that he needs.

Following a query sent by the Fever, Edendale Hospital spokesperson Samke Mncube said the hospital will investigate the matter and forward it to the KwaZulu-Natal Health spokesperson, Agiza Hlongwane, who will issue an official comment.

Comment from Hlongwane was not received at the time of going to print.


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