"I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER AND SENT HOME WITH A HEADACHE PILL"
Barnett Fine 1942-2012
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>My Father's Story


My father was diagnosed with throat cancer in December 2011. It only took another 7 months before he had passed away from a cancer that if he had gotten screened for earlier- would have been curable. My dad knew he hadn't taken care of his health, as he should have. A few months before he died, my father, too weak to stand said to me, "maybe this is what I deserve". "No", I told him, "nobody deserves this treatment dad". Yes my dad's cancer was diagnosed late but in my mind my father didn't die from cancer; he died thanks to a gross neglect of basic human rights on the part of our Provincial Government.

I left my job to do what I could for him. My father's journey soon became my journey.

I had to intervene at every hospital visit. Scheduled hospital appointments were withdrawn for no apparent reason and there were cases where we were arrived only to be told that no appointments were available. We were simply ignored or told to return months later. If there is one thing that cancer patients never have enough of, it's time.

At one stage my father wasn't able to swallow, not even liquids. He had lost as much as 25kg's by this time. The doctor at the hospital sent him home with painkillers usually given for headaches. He became a walking skeleton. The sad thing is that if he'd been given the correct treatment early after his diagnosis it's unlikely he would have had this problem.

Months later, the doctors wanted him to have a CAT SCAN to establish the amount of treatment required to ease his pain and make sure he could have a better quality of life for the time he had left.

They couldn't start the radiation treatment that would provide him with the relief he so desperately needed because the hospital CAT SCAN machine had yet to be services and wasn't in working order. We weren't even sure that if he had the scan that he would be given the treatment. Of the 4 available machines in Steve Biko Hospital, the main cancer treatment facility for Johannesburg, its surrounding areas and 2 other provinces, only one was operational at the time.

It was only after my appearance on TV that the health department responded. They announced that they would fix the machines, but again this came with a catch. These machines have a waiting list of 6 months and more. My dad didn't have 6 months! He was now bedridden most of the time because he couldn't eat, was coughing up blood and in a huge amount of pain.

My father was then told he needed 30 radiation treatments. These radiation treatments would ease the pain and help him swallow. The hospital could only give him 10. In the end my father ended up receiving only 5 treatments all of which were continuously interrupted because the machine kept breaking down.

People are scared to talk about it as they may be denied treatment- the doctors told me that they weren't happy about being on the news. Some of the doctors and nurses want to help, but clearly can't as they don't have the equipment, resources or manpower.

Patients at the hospital were scared to talk about the problems they were experiencing because they felt they might be denied what little treatment they were getting. The hospital staff told me that they weren't happy about me being on the news. Some of the doctors and nurses want to help, but clearly can't as they don't have the equipment, resources or manpower, I can only imagine how frustrating it is for them!

All in all, my father suffered for 7 months and that's with Campaigning for Cancer intervening and offering help. Without this attention, he would've past away much sooner. After the radiation, he felt a lot better but could feel it wasn't lasting, he asked for more radiation but they said no- absolutely not.

The Matakwana Hospital in Nelspruit is where he went to get the medication prescribed by the doctor at Steve Biko Hospital. Medicine that would take away the pain he was experiencing, but they were often out of supply. He often got to the hospital on a wheelbarrow, walked and caught lifts, only to be greeted by "out of stock" signs.

Eventually my brother began going to the hospital in Hazy View to try to get him some medicine, as my dad was just too weak at this stage. He literally begged for medication.

Over the long weekend in September, my dad couldn't struggle anymore. He was so ill and weak that he needed to be admitted to hospital. I remember his eyes being dull, it was clear that the struggles and pain that my dad and been forced to endure by a health system that failed him had finally taken its toll. Once he got to the hospital in Nelspruit, there was no doctor and nobody would answer the telephone. I had the nurses' number and had to call her to receive SMS updates. On their official report, it states that a doctor saw him but this isn't true. The day before he died, they moved him into their public ward, where my brother sat outside at the window looking in because he had been told to leave. Every time my dad needed something he snuck into the ward to tend to him. No nurses saw to my dad and there was no medication-this for someone who was meant to have pain medication every 4 hours. The abscise on his back which wasn't tended to, which meant he wasn't able to lie down.

My dad passed away sitting up.

All I wanted was for my dad to get the treatment that he was entitled to and to make sure that the little time he had left with us was pain free and he was comfortable.

That's not being unreasonable, is it?

>Boston Phiri

I am a 37year old unemployed male. I am not married I have 4 brothers and 6 sisters.

I was diagnosed with rectum cancer in July 2012. I am currently receiving radiation treatment for my cancer at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.

I arrive at the hospital early in the morning to get my treatment and have 2 weeks and 3 days left – but the radiation machines keeping breaking down at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, which causes delays in my treatment.

Myself as well as other patients sometimes sit there all day waiting for our treatment only to be told at the end of the day that the machines are broken.

Why can the hospital not tell us when we arrive.

It is a very long day for me as I arrive early and only leave late.

I have been standing every time I go for my treatment as my cancer is of the rectum and cannot sit on the hard chairs as it is very uncomfortable and painful.

One of the other patient's wife eventually managed to get me a doughnut cushion to sit on so now things are a little better. I can at least sit while I am waiting and do not have to stand.

I need my story to be told as I urgently need to complete my treatment and also there are a lot of other patients that need their treatment and they are too afraid to speak up as they are scared of being victimised.

I really hope that my story can help all the other patients.

>Corrie Koekemoer

My naam is Corrie ek is 68 jaar oud. Ek het drie kinders en ek is ‘n pensionaris.

Ek het bloed begin hoes en ek het na Charlotte Maxeke Hospitaal toegegaan – hulle het my vir toetse gestuur en toe die resultate terug kom het hulle vir my gese date ek longkanker het.

Hulle het vir my na chemo gestuur en dit is toe die probleme begin het met my behandeling.

Toe ek vir my chemo behandeling opdaag by die hospitaal se hulle vir my dat die chemo was bestel maar dat daar nie vooraad is nie.

Dit was die eerste problem – na a lang rukkie het ek met my behandeling begin. Toe ek klaar is met my chemo het hulle gese date k now met bestraling begin.

Dit eers goed gegaan maar toe begin die bestraling masjiene breek.

Eendag werk hulle en die volgende dag werk hulle nie.

Eers is dit die computer wat nie werk nie dan is dit die software – ek het net nog twee behandelings oor dan is ek klaar met die bestraling.

Ek wil almal moet my storie hoor want daar is baie pasiente wat sukkel om hulle behandeling to kry.

As my storie vir ander pasiente kan help sal ek baie dankbaar wees want dit is nie lekker om so lang te wag vir behandeling.

>Gert Fourie

I had a big throat cancer scare a few years back and had to go for a 9 hour operation where they had to cut away half of my chin and throat on one side .

Even with no teeth left after the operation I was very glad that the operation went well and went on with life grinding away in a factory.  

Financially the children clubbed in and started paying off hospital fees. 

That took a few years but they managed and paid it.

I then had some more bad news with me needing a triple bypass, and again I only had a hospital plan. But with all of the children working they managed.  

I was then medically boarded due to this operation. 

Due to not being able to work anymore and with no pension plan or medical aid my wife and myself  had to move into a granny flat at my daughter’s house, where all went well until I  started getting  lumps on the other side of my face.   

They became very painful  and swollen. 

With no medical aid or pension plan and nothing else to sell in order to raise funds, I had go to a specialist and we were fearing the worst.

We all knew what it was and the doctor said the operation will be a major one, like the previous one I had to go through.

He mentioned that I will not survive another operation  with the physical trauma and financial worries, as I had experienced with the past one.

So needless to say with the situation I was in  I had to become reliant on the State Hospital for my medical care.

I was diagnosed with re-occurring throat cancer in June 2012 – I was admitted to hospital for a CT Scan and only after two weeks of lying in the hospital was I able to go for his CT Scan as the machines had been out of order.

The results proved that I would need radiation treatment but due to the location of tumour on my chin I would first need to have a face mask made before any treatment could be administered.

Between July and August I returned on numerous occasions to have the mask made eventually the mask was done.

I was then informed I would have to go for simulation before treatment could begin, but unfortunately the doctor who performs the simulation had gone on leave – imagine that!!!!!

Early August whilst waiting for my treatment the tumour on his chin became infected and burst.

I went back to hospital on the 18/08/2012 and eventually received treatment for the infected tumour and was promised that I would get my appointment for the 28/08/2012 for the simulation session.

Needless to say nothing happened once again and I was told that I needed to go for a planning session first.

I eventually began my radiation treatment in the middle of September 2012 – it was everyday Monday to Friday.

All was going according to plan when the radiation machines stopped working once again due to faulty computers and software.

It is a continuous battle to gain access to my treatment because of broken equipment – some days I  would sit there the whole day only to be told in the late afternoon “sorry the machines are out of order.”

As a state patient I feel that this story should be told so that the condition of the state hospitals can be exposed.

Maybe then the Department of Health will sit up and take notice. I am doing this for myself as well as all the other patients that are not getting access to their treatment, their voices need to be heard as well.

>Isaac Chakela

I am a 69 year old male and I am a pensioner.

I am married with 3 children and 10 grandchildren. I used to be a welder by trade and I live in Katlehong.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2012 at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.

I am in the process of receiving radiation treatment for my cancer and only have 11 days left.

My treatment keeps getting delayed as the radiation machines are always out of order.

I have to leave home early in the morning to get to the hospital early so that I can receive my treatment giving me enough time to get home while it is still daylight.

Some days I can sit there for the whole day waiting for my treatment only to be told that the machines are broken.

There are always excuses it is either the computer that is down or the software is not working or they are waiting for the parts.

I am desperate to finish my treatment but it is taking so long due to the broken equipment.

I need my story to be heard as it may help other people to get their treatment. The Department of Health also need to be made aware of the condition of the state hospitals.

>Johannes Kgang

My name is Johannes I am a 63 year old male.

I am married with 3 children and am a pensioner.

I live in Rustenburg.

I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in November 2011 at the Rustenburg State Hospital.

I began my treatment in Rustenburg then the doctor realised that I would need further radiation treatment and would have to go to Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg. I began my treatment at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in August 2012.

I am only receiving radiation.

I travel from Rustenburg on a daily basis to get my treatment but there have been a lot of interruptions and delays due to broken radiation equipment.

I leave home very early in the morning and get home very late at night. I can sit there all day waiting for my treatment only to be told that the equipment is broken, sometimes with no explanation.

I am in urgent need of this treatment as it could save my life.

I am hoping that my story will create awareness and that the Department of Health will sit up and take notice so that the equipment can be in good working order and not keep breaking down.

I also want to make a difference with my story so that it will help other state patients who are facing the same challenges as me.

>Samuel Ntuli


My name is Samuel I am 63 years of age. I am divorced with 2 children.

I was diagnosed with Prostate cancer in August 2011.

I have been going for radiation treatment at Charlotte Maxeke hospital.

I leave home early in the morning so that I can get to the hospital early so that I can receive my treatment early.

The machines are always broken and nobody at the hospital tells us anything.

They just keep telling us to come back the next day.

This is causing delays and interruptions with my treatment.

My story needs to be told so that it can become public knowledge of what the state patients have to go through on a daily basis, just to receive their treatment.

>Sandile Mkhabela

My name is Sandile I am a male who is 66 years old and married with 3 children and 2 grandchildren

I am a pensioner and my income is not much.

I am forced to go to the state hospitals.

I was diagnosed in July 2008 with prostate cancer at Barra Hosptial. In about May/June 2011 my prostate ruptured and I was operated on and it was removed at Barra Hospital.

I went back for my check up and Barra discovered that the cancer had spread and I was referred to Charlotte Maxeke for radiation treatment.

I only have 8 treatments left but the machines are always breaking down and this is causing a lot of delays with my treatment.

We the patients sometimes do not even get told why the machines are broken – we are just told to come back the next day.

When we arrive the next day it is the same story. It is really a very long day for us patients when we have to sit there all day with no treatment only to be told the machines are broken.

There are so many patients that cannot speak for themselves in fear of being victimized that I hope my story can make a difference to them.

>My Father's Story


My father was diagnosed with throat cancer in December 2011. It only took another 7 months before he had passed away from a cancer that if he had gotten screened for earlier- would have been curable. My dad knew he hadn't taken care of his health, as he should have. A few months before he died, my father, too weak to stand said to me, "maybe this is what I deserve". "No", I told him, "nobody deserves this treatment dad". Yes my dad's cancer was diagnosed late but in my mind my father didn't die from cancer; he died thanks to a gross neglect of basic human rights on the part of our Provincial Government.

I left my job to do what I could for him. My father's journey soon became my journey.

I had to intervene at every hospital visit. Scheduled hospital appointments were withdrawn for no apparent reason and there were cases where we were arrived only to be told that no appointments were available. We were simply ignored or told to return months later. If there is one thing that cancer patients never have enough of, it's time.

At one stage my father wasn't able to swallow, not even liquids. He had lost as much as 25kg's by this time. The doctor at the hospital sent him home with painkillers usually given for headaches. He became a walking skeleton. The sad thing is that if he'd been given the correct treatment early after his diagnosis it's unlikely he would have had this problem.

Months later, the doctors wanted him to have a CAT SCAN to establish the amount of treatment required to ease his pain and make sure he could have a better quality of life for the time he had left.

They couldn't start the radiation treatment that would provide him with the relief he so desperately needed because the hospital CAT SCAN machine had yet to be services and wasn't in working order. We weren't even sure that if he had the scan that he would be given the treatment. Of the 4 available machines in Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, the main cancer treatment facility for Johannesburg, its surrounding areas and 2 other provinces, only one was operational at the time.

It was only after my appearance on TV that the health department responded. They announced that they would fix the machines, but again this came with a catch. These machines have a waiting list of 6 months and more. My dad didn't have 6 months! He was now bedridden most of the time because he couldn't eat, was coughing up blood and in a huge amount of pain.

My father was then told he needed 30 radiation treatments. These radiation treatments would ease the pain and help him swallow. The hospital could only give him 10. In the end my father ended up receiving only 5 treatments all of which were continuously interrupted because the machine kept breaking down.

People are scared to talk about it as they may be denied treatment- the doctors told me that they weren't happy about being on the news. Some of the doctors and nurses want to help, but clearly can't as they don't have the equipment, resources or manpower.

Patients at the hospital were scared to talk about the problems they were experiencing because they felt they might be denied what little treatment they were getting. The hospital staff told me that they weren't happy about me being on the news. Some of the doctors and nurses want to help, but clearly can't as they don't have the equipment, resources or manpower, I can only imagine how frustrating it is for them!

All in all, my father suffered for 7 months and that's with Campaigning for Cancer intervening and offering help. Without this attention, he would've past away much sooner. After the radiation, he felt a lot better but could feel it wasn't lasting, he asked for more radiation but they said no- absolutely not.

The Matakwana Hospital in Nelspruit is where he went to get the medication prescribed by the doctor at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital. Medicine that would take away the pain he was experiencing, but they were often out of supply. He often got to the hospital on a wheelbarrow, walked and caught lifts, only to be greeted by "out of stock" signs.

Eventually my brother began going to the hospital in Hazy View to try to get him some medicine, as my dad was just too weak at this stage. He literally begged for medication.

Over the long weekend in September, my dad couldn't struggle anymore. He was so ill and weak that he needed to be admitted to hospital. I remember his eyes being dull, it was clear that the struggles and pain that my dad and been forced to endure by a health system that failed him had finally taken its toll. Once he got to the hospital in Nelspruit, there was no doctor and nobody would answer the telephone. I had the nurses' number and had to call her to receive SMS updates. On their official report, it states that a doctor saw him but this isn't true. The day before he died, they moved him into their public ward, where my brother sat outside at the window looking in because he had been told to leave. Every time my dad needed something he snuck into the ward to tend to him. No nurses saw to my dad and there was no medication-this for someone who was meant to have pain medication every 4 hours. The abscise on his back which wasn't tended to, which meant he wasn't able to lie down.

My dad passed away sitting up.

All I wanted was for my dad to get the treatment that he was entitled to and to make sure that the little time he had left with us was pain free and he was comfortable.

That's not being unreasonable, is it?

>My Father's Story


My father was diagnosed with throat cancer in December 2011. It only took another 7 months before he had passed away from a cancer that if he had gotten screened for earlier- would have been curable. My dad knew he hadn't taken care of his health, as he should have. A few months before he died, my father, too weak to stand said to me, "maybe this is what I deserve". "No", I told him, "nobody deserves this treatment dad". Yes my dad's cancer was diagnosed late but in my mind my father didn't die from cancer; he died thanks to a gross neglect of basic human rights on the part of our Provincial Government.

I left my job to do what I could for him. My father's journey soon became my journey.

I had to intervene at every hospital visit. Scheduled hospital appointments were withdrawn for no apparent reason and there were cases where we were arrived only to be told that no appointments were available. We were simply ignored or told to return months later. If there is one thing that cancer patients never have enough of, it's time.

At one stage my father wasn't able to swallow, not even liquids. He had lost as much as 25kg's by this time. The doctor at the hospital sent him home with painkillers usually given for headaches. He became a walking skeleton. The sad thing is that if he'd been given the correct treatment early after his diagnosis it's unlikely he would have had this problem.

Months later, the doctors wanted him to have a CAT SCAN to establish the amount of treatment required to ease his pain and make sure he could have a better quality of life for the time he had left.

They couldn't start the radiation treatment that would provide him with the relief he so desperately needed because the hospital CAT SCAN machine had yet to be services and wasn't in working order. We weren't even sure that if he had the scan that he would be given the treatment. Of the 4 available machines in Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, the main cancer treatment facility for Johannesburg, its surrounding areas and 2 other provinces, only one was operational at the time.

It was only after my appearance on TV that the health department responded. They announced that they would fix the machines, but again this came with a catch. These machines have a waiting list of 6 months and more. My dad didn't have 6 months! He was now bedridden most of the time because he couldn't eat, was coughing up blood and in a huge amount of pain.

My father was then told he needed 30 radiation treatments. These radiation treatments would ease the pain and help him swallow. The hospital could only give him 10. In the end my father ended up receiving only 5 treatments all of which were continuously interrupted because the machine kept breaking down.

People are scared to talk about it as they may be denied treatment- the doctors told me that they weren't happy about being on the news. Some of the doctors and nurses want to help, but clearly can't as they don't have the equipment, resources or manpower.

Patients at the hospital were scared to talk about the problems they were experiencing because they felt they might be denied what little treatment they were getting. The hospital staff told me that they weren't happy about me being on the news. Some of the doctors and nurses want to help, but clearly can't as they don't have the equipment, resources or manpower, I can only imagine how frustrating it is for them!

All in all, my father suffered for 7 months and that's with Campaigning for Cancer intervening and offering help. Without this attention, he would've past away much sooner. After the radiation, he felt a lot better but could feel it wasn't lasting, he asked for more radiation but they said no- absolutely not.

The Matakwana Hospital in Nelspruit is where he went to get the medication prescribed by the doctor at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital. Medicine that would take away the pain he was experiencing, but they were often out of supply. He often got to the hospital on a wheelbarrow, walked and caught lifts, only to be greeted by "out of stock" signs.

Eventually my brother began going to the hospital in Hazy View to try to get him some medicine, as my dad was just too weak at this stage. He literally begged for medication.

Over the long weekend in September, my dad couldn't struggle anymore. He was so ill and weak that he needed to be admitted to hospital. I remember his eyes being dull, it was clear that the struggles and pain that my dad and been forced to endure by a health system that failed him had finally taken its toll. Once he got to the hospital in Nelspruit, there was no doctor and nobody would answer the telephone. I had the nurses' number and had to call her to receive SMS updates. On their official report, it states that a doctor saw him but this isn't true. The day before he died, they moved him into their public ward, where my brother sat outside at the window looking in because he had been told to leave. Every time my dad needed something he snuck into the ward to tend to him. No nurses saw to my dad and there was no medication-this for someone who was meant to have pain medication every 4 hours. The abscise on his back which wasn't tended to, which meant he wasn't able to lie down.

My dad passed away sitting up.

All I wanted was for my dad to get the treatment that he was entitled to and to make sure that the little time he had left with us was pain free and he was comfortable.

That's not being unreasonable, is it?

>My Father's Story


My father was diagnosed with throat cancer in December 2011. It only took another 7 months before he had passed away from a cancer that if he had gotten screened for earlier- would have been curable. My dad knew he hadn't taken care of his health, as he should have. A few months before he died, my father, too weak to stand said to me, "maybe this is what I deserve". "No", I told him, "nobody deserves this treatment dad". Yes my dad's cancer was diagnosed late but in my mind my father didn't die from cancer; he died thanks to a gross neglect of basic human rights on the part of our Provincial Government.

I left my job to do what I could for him. My father's journey soon became my journey.

I had to intervene at every hospital visit. Scheduled hospital appointments were withdrawn for no apparent reason and there were cases where we were arrived only to be told that no appointments were available. We were simply ignored or told to return months later. If there is one thing that cancer patients never have enough of, it's time.

At one stage my father wasn't able to swallow, not even liquids. He had lost as much as 25kg's by this time. The doctor at the hospital sent him home with painkillers usually given for headaches. He became a walking skeleton. The sad thing is that if he'd been given the correct treatment early after his diagnosis it's unlikely he would have had this problem.

Months later, the doctors wanted him to have a CAT SCAN to establish the amount of treatment required to ease his pain and make sure he could have a better quality of life for the time he had left.

They couldn't start the radiation treatment that would provide him with the relief he so desperately needed because the hospital CAT SCAN machine had yet to be services and wasn't in working order. We weren't even sure that if he had the scan that he would be given the treatment. Of the 4 available machines in Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, the main cancer treatment facility for Johannesburg, its surrounding areas and 2 other provinces, only one was operational at the time.

It was only after my appearance on TV that the health department responded. They announced that they would fix the machines, but again this came with a catch. These machines have a waiting list of 6 months and more. My dad didn't have 6 months! He was now bedridden most of the time because he couldn't eat, was coughing up blood and in a huge amount of pain.

My father was then told he needed 30 radiation treatments. These radiation treatments would ease the pain and help him swallow. The hospital could only give him 10. In the end my father ended up receiving only 5 treatments all of which were continuously interrupted because the machine kept breaking down.

People are scared to talk about it as they may be denied treatment- the doctors told me that they weren't happy about being on the news. Some of the doctors and nurses want to help, but clearly can't as they don't have the equipment, resources or manpower.

Patients at the hospital were scared to talk about the problems they were experiencing because they felt they might be denied what little treatment they were getting. The hospital staff told me that they weren't happy about me being on the news. Some of the doctors and nurses want to help, but clearly can't as they don't have the equipment, resources or manpower, I can only imagine how frustrating it is for them!

All in all, my father suffered for 7 months and that's with Campaigning for Cancer intervening and offering help. Without this attention, he would've past away much sooner. After the radiation, he felt a lot better but could feel it wasn't lasting, he asked for more radiation but they said no- absolutely not.

The Matakwana Hospital in Nelspruit is where he went to get the medication prescribed by the doctor at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital. Medicine that would take away the pain he was experiencing, but they were often out of supply. He often got to the hospital on a wheelbarrow, walked and caught lifts, only to be greeted by "out of stock" signs.

Eventually my brother began going to the hospital in Hazy View to try to get him some medicine, as my dad was just too weak at this stage. He literally begged for medication.

Over the long weekend in September, my dad couldn't struggle anymore. He was so ill and weak that he needed to be admitted to hospital. I remember his eyes being dull, it was clear that the struggles and pain that my dad and been forced to endure by a health system that failed him had finally taken its toll. Once he got to the hospital in Nelspruit, there was no doctor and nobody would answer the telephone. I had the nurses' number and had to call her to receive SMS updates. On their official report, it states that a doctor saw him but this isn't true. The day before he died, they moved him into their public ward, where my brother sat outside at the window looking in because he had been told to leave. Every time my dad needed something he snuck into the ward to tend to him. No nurses saw to my dad and there was no medication-this for someone who was meant to have pain medication every 4 hours. The abscise on his back which wasn't tended to, which meant he wasn't able to lie down.

My dad passed away sitting up.

All I wanted was for my dad to get the treatment that he was entitled to and to make sure that the little time he had left with us was pain free and he was comfortable.

That's not being unreasonable, is it?

>My Father's Story


My father was diagnosed with throat cancer in December 2011. It only took another 7 months before he had passed away from a cancer that if he had gotten screened for earlier- would have been curable. My dad knew he hadn't taken care of his health, as he should have. A few months before he died, my father, too weak to stand said to me, "maybe this is what I deserve". "No", I told him, "nobody deserves this treatment dad". Yes my dad's cancer was diagnosed late but in my mind my father didn't die from cancer; he died thanks to a gross neglect of basic human rights on the part of our Provincial Government.

I left my job to do what I could for him. My father's journey soon became my journey.

I had to intervene at every hospital visit. Scheduled hospital appointments were withdrawn for no apparent reason and there were cases where we were arrived only to be told that no appointments were available. We were simply ignored or told to return months later. If there is one thing that cancer patients never have enough of, it's time.

At one stage my father wasn't able to swallow, not even liquids. He had lost as much as 25kg's by this time. The doctor at the hospital sent him home with painkillers usually given for headaches. He became a walking skeleton. The sad thing is that if he'd been given the correct treatment early after his diagnosis it's unlikely he would have had this problem.

Months later, the doctors wanted him to have a CAT SCAN to establish the amount of treatment required to ease his pain and make sure he could have a better quality of life for the time he had left.

They couldn't start the radiation treatment that would provide him with the relief he so desperately needed because the hospital CAT SCAN machine had yet to be services and wasn't in working order. We weren't even sure that if he had the scan that he would be given the treatment. Of the 4 available machines in Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, the main cancer treatment facility for Johannesburg, its surrounding areas and 2 other provinces, only one was operational at the time.

It was only after my appearance on TV that the health department responded. They announced that they would fix the machines, but again this came with a catch. These machines have a waiting list of 6 months and more. My dad didn't have 6 months! He was now bedridden most of the time because he couldn't eat, was coughing up blood and in a huge amount of pain.

My father was then told he needed 30 radiation treatments. These radiation treatments would ease the pain and help him swallow. The hospital could only give him 10. In the end my father ended up receiving only 5 treatments all of which were continuously interrupted because the machine kept breaking down.

People are scared to talk about it as they may be denied treatment- the doctors told me that they weren't happy about being on the news. Some of the doctors and nurses want to help, but clearly can't as they don't have the equipment, resources or manpower.

Patients at the hospital were scared to talk about the problems they were experiencing because they felt they might be denied what little treatment they were getting. The hospital staff told me that they weren't happy about me being on the news. Some of the doctors and nurses want to help, but clearly can't as they don't have the equipment, resources or manpower, I can only imagine how frustrating it is for them!

All in all, my father suffered for 7 months and that's with Campaigning for Cancer intervening and offering help. Without this attention, he would've past away much sooner. After the radiation, he felt a lot better but could feel it wasn't lasting, he asked for more radiation but they said no- absolutely not.

The Matakwana Hospital in Nelspruit is where he went to get the medication prescribed by the doctor at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital. Medicine that would take away the pain he was experiencing, but they were often out of supply. He often got to the hospital on a wheelbarrow, walked and caught lifts, only to be greeted by "out of stock" signs.

Eventually my brother began going to the hospital in Hazy View to try to get him some medicine, as my dad was just too weak at this stage. He literally begged for medication.

Over the long weekend in September, my dad couldn't struggle anymore. He was so ill and weak that he needed to be admitted to hospital. I remember his eyes being dull, it was clear that the struggles and pain that my dad and been forced to endure by a health system that failed him had finally taken its toll. Once he got to the hospital in Nelspruit, there was no doctor and nobody would answer the telephone. I had the nurses' number and had to call her to receive SMS updates. On their official report, it states that a doctor saw him but this isn't true. The day before he died, they moved him into their public ward, where my brother sat outside at the window looking in because he had been told to leave. Every time my dad needed something he snuck into the ward to tend to him. No nurses saw to my dad and there was no medication-this for someone who was meant to have pain medication every 4 hours. The abscise on his back which wasn't tended to, which meant he wasn't able to lie down.

My dad passed away sitting up.

All I wanted was for my dad to get the treatment that he was entitled to and to make sure that the little time he had left with us was pain free and he was comfortable.

That's not being unreasonable, is it?