Two weeks after our arrival in Johannesburg we celebrated Vic’s 3rd birthday. Tienie drove my car up and was able to be with us for Vic’s birthday. By her birthday Vic had 38 fractures.
The day of Vic’s birthday Tienie and I went for a drive looking for an ice-cream parlour as a birthday treat for her. Vic was sitting on the backseat. Cars did not have safety belts in 1977… a dog ran across the road, and Tienie swerved out to avoid running it over….. Vic fell off the back seat.
I immediately knew her little arm was broken.
We drove to the nearest hospital. It was Vic’s first visit to an Emergency Room in Johannesburg. There was a long queue of patients waiting to be seen. I completed the paperwork and we sat down for the long wait.
Vic being a toddler we got moved to the front of the queue. A tall, tired looking doctor took down Vic’s medical history.
“Treatment?” he asked…
I remember thinking “Duh….. You know there is no treatment.” But, then a spark of hope flamed up and I asked “Do you know of treatment for Osteogenesis Imperfecta?”
“No” he said
“Vicky is having experimental homeopathic treatment. The physician treating her is Professor Majorkenis” I said
He looked at me and took out a red pen from his pocket. In huge red letters he wrote “Homeopathic treatment” across the page. He drew two lines under the words…
In a terse voice he instructed the nurse to take us through to X-rays. There was no radiologist on duty, and we had to wait for the call-out radiologist to arrive. I eventually went through to the ER and asked the doctor whether Vic could have something for the pain. It was 2.5 hours after the event, and she was crying from the pain.
“She cannot have anything for pain. She may have to go to the theatre. But then you know that don’t you?” he asked in a very sarcastic tone of voice!
I went back to X-rays seething but knowing that what he said was true. If the bone had dislocated Vic would have to go to theatre.
By the time I got back to X-rays the radiologist had arrived and was busy setting up the machine. Vic’s cries of pain are still etched into my heart and brain when her little arm was positioned on the table. Tears ran down my cheeks whilst I kept telling her that if she kept still it would be over soon.
The X-ray showed 3 clean fractures. No surgery would be necessary.
We went down to the ER, and the doctor started applying the plaster-of-paris to Vic’s arm. She was sobbing with pain.
I absolutely lost it.
“If you have a problem with the fact that my child is having homeopathic treatment you take it out on me. “
He just fixed his tired eyes on me and said nothing.
“Do you know what it feels like when your child is sentenced to death and there is no appeal system? Western traditional doctors, like you, have offered us no hope what so ever! This Homeopath is prepared to TRY. That is a hell of a lot more than what doctors like you are prepared to do! ”
His eyes were big and he had stopped working on Vic’s arm by then.
“Now, if you have a problem treating my child with the care and dignity that she deserves I suggest you get someone else in here to take care of her!”
He drew up a syringe with some pain medication and said “This will just sting a little, but it will help for the pain…”
He gave it a couple of minutes and then completed the plaster-of-paris process.
Without a word of apology he wrote a prescription for pain medication. He curtly said “Take her to her orthopod in three weeks” and walked out of the cubicle…
I lodged a formal complaint against him the following day, but nothing ever came of it.
Was I surprised? Hell no! Homeopathic or alternative medicine was satanic in 1977 in South Africa! We would go to hell for it any way…
On Vic’s 3rd birthday her fracture count went up to 41…