Desperately needed medical help on way for Joshua

Elmarie van der Merwe Brynard and her son Joshua have had their prayers answered as an anonymous donor has come forward to fund Joshua’s diagnostic cardiac catherisation procedure
NEW HOPE: Elmarie van der Merwe Brynard and her son Joshua have had their prayers answered as an anonymous donor has come forward to fund Joshua’s diagnostic cardiac catherisation procedure
Image: SUPPLIED

She has fought a daily battle to keep her son alive and finally Nelson Mandela Bay mother  Elmarie van der Merwe Brynard is one step closer to getting little Joshua the medical care he so desperately needs — thanks to an anonymous donor.

Joshua is just one of the many Bay state hospital heart patients in need of the services of the defunct Provincial Hospital cardiac catheterisation laboratory or cath lab — a facility the Eastern Cape department of health has not managed to open in almost two years.

Van der Merwe Brynard has spent an inordinate amount of time trying to keep  Joshua, 7, healthy as she fought the department at every turn in her desperation to have the lab reopened.

This week, she heard that an anonymous donor had come forward to ensure Joshua could undergo a diagnostic cardiac catherisation procedure.

“I am absolutely overjoyed.

“When I phoned my [older] children they were all in tears.

“It is the first step.

“I am absolutely petrified of the operation that is still to come but at least we know that we are doing what we need to for Joshua,” Van der Merwe Brynard said.

The cath lab is used to perform non-invasive procedures for diagnosis, to fit patients with stents to open blocked arteries, fix arteries, repair congenital heart defects and do some vascular procedures.

The cath lab debacle has dragged on since October 2018, when the facility was declared broken beyond repair.

It has not opened since and as a result Joshua has missed a number of opportunities to undergo the procedure.  

Joshua, who was born with serious heart defects, will now undergo his procedure at Life St George’s Hospital on September 19 with the doctors also waiving their fees.

In a letter to Van der Merwe Brynard, Dr Samkelo Jiyana, of the Thanda Heart Foundation, said donations made following Van der Merwe Brynard appearing on television on August 30 to speak about the cath lab would be used to help both Joshua and another patient.

“Life St George’s Hospital [has] reduced the cost of the cardiac catherisation.

“This has allowed us to do one more urgent cardiac cath from the funds generated by people touched by Joshua’s plight.

“I trust this wonderful news will bring you peaceful sleep,” Jiyana wrote.

Dr Adele Greyling, one of the doctors who will perform the procedure, said the donors were directors of a company who did not want their names mentioned publicly.

Van der Merwe Brynard said the donors, Port Elizabeth residents, had contacted her “so I know who they are but they do not want their names mentioned”.

She said the donors were also organising a golf day to raise further funds and had committed to helping raise funds for other state heart patients.

Joshua, who knows more about medical procedures than any small child should, is busy drawing up a list of treats for his hospital trip.

“He is not crazy about having to go to hospital but he knows exactly what to expect and gets to make a list of treats that we take with him.

“He knows this is only caths, but he also knows there is a big operation after this,” Van der Merwe Brynard said.

In August, health department officials said the cath lab at Provincial Hospital would reopen in October.

Van der Merwe Brynard, who has watched as at least five promises to reopen the lab were made, said she would continue to fight for the reopening.

“I will carry on holding them accountable,” she said.

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