This letter of mine today and written in purely lay terms but prompted by the recent sad passing of my own son and my concern for parents in the Solomon Islands that have suffered the loss of a child, or are seriously worried about the health of one of their children suffering from illnesses considered serious, such as rheumatic heart disease (RHD) or cancer and knowing of the ongoing difficulty in getting treatment at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) still without many resources and medical facilities, including specialist cardiologists for heart treatment and oncologist for cancer treatment and care.
I know from the many letters shared with me how many local parents are greatly worried about their son or daughter, or grandchild, suffering from RHD and the chances of those children being given the opportunity of medical treatment offshore in order to extend their lives or be completely cured.
Yesterday, I wrote about the year old boy suffering from leukaemia admitted to the NRH and his parents living with the trauma of worrying if sufficient money can be raised with donations for the boy and his mother to be given the chance of being given the chance of being transferred for medical treatment t at a hospital in Australia or in India.
I can fully appreciate the great worry, anxiety and stress the parents are suffering over their son’s serious illness and the chances of getting him to a hospital overseas in a timely manner.
Sadly there are many parents and grandparents in the SI undergoing similar pain and stress for children with RHD and not being sure if overseas hospital and medical care will be provide, and when.
I think in particular of the loss of 16 year old Linta Mabo who had RHD and who had been an inpatient and outpatient of the NRH for more than 4 years until ultimately a donor came forward to send her and her mother to St George’s hospital in Sydney for promised medical evaluation and likely heart valve surgery, but young Linta passed away just days before her long awaited medical treatment could take place.
Counselling services for bereaved families and anxious parents over the health of their children with RHD seems to me to be a vitally important part of our health services but unfortunately is not available, unless I am greatly misinformed.
When it comes to the death of a child, from personal knowledge I can truly say is the most challenging experience of a lifetime.