How hospice saved a young boy’s life

Today we reflect the great work of Hospice intervention that most certainly saved a young boy’s life that seemed destined for death. 

Siyabonga* (not his real name) is an 11 year old young boy who was admitted to hospital being HIV positive. Siyabonga had it tough living with his mother who unfortunately did not have the resources to take proper care of him. She was very poor and the only income was the child support grant and a little made from intermittent domestic work that she engaged in once a week.

Their living conditions were also not ideal. They stayed in a shack and food was often non-existent. In November 2014 he was diagnosed with TB, and his condition took a turn for the worse. The hospice care worker and nurse became concerned over the fact that his mother was not taking him to the clinic for regular check-ups and treatment, and he was not compliant on ART or TB treatment.

The family services co-ordinator then visited his school and the teacher expressed similar concerns. The hospice care workers and nurse also felt that he was too ill to be in class and feared that he might infect other pupils.

Hospice then made an appointment to take him to see a private GP who was a Board Member. The mother was informed and plans were then made to collect her and the child. Unfortunately things took a turn for the worst. On arrival to collect the child and mother, they found the house empty and locked up with no one seeing or knowing where Siyabonga and his mom had disappeared to.

The hospice nurse then found proactive ways to find them by tracing Siyabonga’s mom to the house where she was employed one day a week as a domestic worker. They found her, and wanted to know why she took such drastic measures to try and avoid help. The mother admitted that she did not want any interventions as she did not want to lose the child support grant, which she lives on. After much encouragement she agreed to another appointment, and this one was indeed kept.

After Siyabonga was tested and inspected by the doctor, the results were not good and the Doctor was not happy with the child’s condition. He arranged Siyabonga’s admission into the paediatric ward at Ethembeni Care Centre, part of Amangwe village.

Wasting no time, the Hospice nurse and care worker took the mother and child to Ethembeni and facilitated the admission. At first he was apprehensive, but the nursing staff brought him food, kept him company, cheered him up and kept being positive around him. That eventually cheered him up, and he was unconcerned about being left there alone at times because it was an environment he trusted and was happy to be in.

Overall everyone was left happy, and more importantly Siyabonga was showing positive signs of recovery. The nurse looking after Siyabonga reported that everything was going well, and that she would sleep well knowing that Siyabonga is not going to bed hungry, feeling cold or in pain. He is now safe and he will indeed receive his medication correctly.

To conclude, it must be stated that without Hospice intervention Siyabonga would probably have died. He still goes for regular check-ups, but the future is looking much better for this young boy.