Miracle Stories

Dear Website Reader,

St Joseph’s Home shares with you some of our beautiful stories we have published in our newsletters since Spring 2014. We invite you to go down memory lane with us. We conclude with the latest story which was published a few weeks ago. We trust you will enjoy and find inspiration in what has been achieved.

Kind regards,

Alrika Hefers
Manager: Resource Development

A special story shared but not published in a Thetha/Praat/Talk.

We reflect on Boetie Herman and his mother who travelled from Citrusdal on a weekly basis for a full year to receive SJH’s dedicated rehabilitation services

Herman was a normal baby boy from Citrusdal, with slight delayed milestones as a result of the fact that he was born prematurely at 32 weeks. Herman had just started sitting independently at eight months, when one day he developed a rash and a fever. On route to the pediatrician he became lethargic and a few hours later he was on a ventilator in the ICU at Cape Gate Medi-Clinic. On 08.02.2016 this little body went into septic shock, and a few days later the MIR showed massive brain damage. The neurologist diagnosed Herman with acute necrotizing encephalopathy a few days later.

“Boetie Herman” as we called him, commenced therapy at St Joseph’s Home on March 29, 2016. The doctors upon investigation found that he has a very rare genetic defect, which made Herman extremely vulnerable to germs. As a result of this diagnosis, Boetie was seen as an Out-Patient for rehabilitation in the form of block therapy for a year.

He has a very difficult type of CP called dystonia. Initially, when therapy started we had very little active movement to work with, but as time passed Boetie Herman recovered more and more. Therapy consisted of a standing regime, aqua therapy, parent training, positioning in and out of the Buggy as well as joint therapy sessions with Occupational therapy and Speech Therapy.

Herman is a severely affected little boy, and as a result of his complex clinical picture the biggest results were seen during joint therapy as in the pictures. It may look easy, but it is the physiotherapist’s job to facilitate a good position in order for Herman to activate and train specific muscle groups. In order for therapy to be effective the positioning and the activity chosen need to be specific and well though through to ensure success! Research has shown multiple times that the brain learns new skills with success!

Aqua therapy was especially fun for Herman as he enjoyed water even before the incident. In the water Boetie would smile and laugh as a result of the fact that he was able to kick a ball, play with a ball and roll over with facilitation form the physiotherapist.

Upon discharge Herman was able to control is head in sitting whilst paging through a book; he tolerated standing in the standing frame for up to 45 minutes; Sit and play with the assistance of a facilitator as well as walk a few steps with maximal support. To the untrained eye it might seem as if we achieved very little, but Herman achieved a lot and flourished in the SJH therapy departments.

After a year of therapy Herman was referred back to private therapists who continue the work we started at St Joseph’s Home.

Mother and child: A special story about care @SJH! (Autumn 2018)

A full circle of St Joseph’s patient care!

Cynthia Lakay (left), a former patient at SJH, never thought she would be visiting her son, Angelo (right), at the same hospital she once called her home.  Thetha*Talk*Praat caught up with her while Angelo was undergoing therapy in the Occupational Therapy (OT) section.  Cynthia had TB of the spine and was a patient here from 2001 to 2002 and attended  St. Joseph’s Special School. Today she leads an independent life, enrolled for a business administration diploma and cares for her son, Angelo.

Angelo suffered a freak accident, was admitted to Red Cross Children’s Hospital and referred to St Joseph’s. He was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, after minor trauma to his spine. Transverse myelitis is a condition in which a section of the spinal cord becomes inflamed. During an inflammatory response the myelin, or protective fatty coating on nerve cells, is damaged or destroyed,   resulting in weakness or paralysis, pain, and sensory dysfunction. Autonomic, or involuntary activities such as breathing, digestion, heartbeat and reflexes can also be affected. Part of Angelo’s thoracic spine (middle of the spinal cord), has been affected. This has resulted in paralysis of part of his trunk and legs, slight weakness in his upper limbs and has affected his bowel and bladder function.

On admission he was unable to sit without support and arrived in a buggy, which provided   maximum support. He has been receiving regular Physiotherapy and OT to address his areas of weakness. His balance while sitting has improved and he has progressed to a self-propelling wheelchair. He is now able to sit at a table, and engage in fine motor activities.

Angelo is a charismatic and charming young man who is motivated to get better. His positive energy is contagious and is definitely his biggest asset in overcoming his physical limitations, says occupational therapist,   Asgeree Dalvie.