Silence Broken

I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. - Elie Wiesel

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Send Our Elderly and Severely Disabled to Prison

A bit late getting this one to the press due to a rather unsettling five days. Visited Rob at his present place of residence on Wednesday (29th June) about 6pm. Immediately he said to take a look at his right foot. Horror!!! It was red and twice the size of the left and when I lifted the towel covering his legs his leg was red up till the mid of his shin; severe cellulitis infection and spreading fast. He did not have it on Sunday when I last saw him. I won’t repeat what I said. Or what I had to say to certain people.

So I’ve had a rather hellish and emotional week leaving me behind in my writing for this site and other advocacy matters while Rob has spent the past few days in hospital on a drip. I had contemplated including a couple of pictures of Rob’s foot but most would not be able to stomach the sight. But such photos will be uploaded into cyberspace shortly as I’m in the process of making Rob his own blogspot.

Until this coming Saturday a reader sent the following in; makes for interesting pondering. I’ve often thought prisoners have it good in comparison to our most vulnerable – the aged and/or disabled. I have made a couple of alterations just to make it more reflective of many nursing homes and prisons in Australia, USA and Britain.

Grumpies of the World Unite.

Let's put the pensioners in jail and the criminals in a nursing home.

This way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks.

They'd receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc and they'd receive money instead of paying it out.

They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance.

Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.

A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their cell.

They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.

They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling, pool and education.

Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ's and legal aid would be free, on request.

Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard with gardens.

Each senior could have a PC, TV, radio and daily phone calls.

There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.

The criminals would get cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised.

Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week. Live in a tiny room and have no hope of ever getting out.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Private psychiatrists barred by law

Having cared for a mentally ill adult for eighteen years it’s difficult to know where to start telling Rob’s story and the hell both of us – including those close to us - have been through to keep him alive and out of hospital and the public health system. There’s no private mental care ward for clients of private psychiatrists here in Darwin. Having a private ward shouldn’t be necessary but it is. For once a private patient’s admitted to the public hospital, whether for physical health issues or mental ones, they by law aren’t allowed access to their private psychiatrist. Not that it affects one particular psychiatrist, Dr Psych, who has his fingers in two pies being both a private and public psychiatrist. All he has to do is shift his patients into the ‘public’ category in order to keep watch over his captives, but more on him later.

Rob’s been under private care for about ten years. We shifted from the public to save both our lives and then found out that private psychiatrists weren’t that expensive after all and most do actually have the best interests of their patients at heart contrary to popular myth. Yes, I say again, myth. Sure, we spent a few hundred dollars with our first two private psychiatrists, but what’s a few hundred dollars when you’re fighting for the life of your best friend or loved one. If we’d invested about $500 in private psychiatrists eighteen years ago we would’ve avoided eight years of neglect, abuse, false accusations and close brushes with suicide within the public system. Exaggerating? No.

While toying with the idea of taking Rob out of the public mental health system during the first years of his care - just hide in our home and hope for the best while in limbo - I had an unannounced visit from Rob’s very distraught public mental health social worker. He’d only recently arrived in Darwin ‘to help make a difference’. Well, he was now leaving pronto even if it meant breaking his contract and would deal with the resulting penalties later. My goodness, someone with a conscience, integrity and courage!! He advised us to get out of the system before Rob ended up dead. He’d witnessed avoidable deaths and abuse towards the mentally ill by psychiatrists and other staff in the public system and he no longer could sleep at night. I thanked him as he’d answered my question regarding what the hell I was supposed to do.

While in limbo Rob’s mental illness was starting to take its toll on me emotionally and physically. But still under the impression private psychiatrists were only after money I reluctantly returned again to the public system hoping that perhaps since a few years had passed there may be a new psychiatrist or two on the scene who hadn’t dragged their credentials out of a cereal packet. Without the support of a doctor to confirm that Rob was indeed mentally ill our fine weather friends started to drift away leaving us pretty much high and dry apart from a couple of friends who courageously stood by us. But these reluctantly stood away on my insistence - and for their protection - when Rob and I were lovingly excommunicated from our church to help us recognise our sins. We thankfully had and still have the undying support of my Mum who we’re doubly thankful was not involved with my adopted church and had taken Rob under her wing as though her own child.

To our relief Rob was referred to a sympathetic public psychiatrist, Miss GoodPsych, who didn’t wish to see MRI’s of Rob’s brain damage that I’d come armed with and paid from our own pensions since no public psychiatrist would order an MRI. The x-rays showed Rob to have identical brain structure as someone with diagnosed schizophrenia. But even without this MRI evidence it was no rocket science that someone born with such extensive brain damage should be having issues – of which Rob had many - outside the question of schizophrenia. ‘Of course he’s got problems’, was music to my ears having heard nothing but excuses in the pass to avoid addressing Rob’s daily hell within his head.

I didn’t care if I was wrong about the schizophrenia as long as Rob received the appropriate help. Dr GoodPsych recognised the schizophrenia and that his cerebral palsy was a totally different and unconnected issue. She confirmed for me the information I’d collected earlier in the piece from a couple of the largest organisations focusing on those with cerebral palsy who knew of no cerebral palsy client with schizophrenia, or like symptoms, diagnosed or otherwise. I was sick of professionals passing the blame onto Rob’s cerebral palsy whether they were mental or physical health issues and that he’d just have to live with it. Now there’s the door, close it behind you and don’t come back. **Note that at this time apparently it was a diagnostic loop-hole that someone with brain damage couldn’t be officially diagnosed with a mental illness which was absolutely terrific for those with duel conditions, like Rob, and as a result left without support for themselves or their carers, family and/or friends.

Unfortunately, Dr GoodPsych was short term. She was heavily pregnant and left shortly after first seeing us. She noted in Rob’s records however that due to Rob’s unusual case I should be given an opportunity to speak with doctors and students and share my knowledge and experience. That recommendation mysteriously vanished from Rob’s file. So came along Dr Psych who said Rob didn’t have any form of psychosis only post trauma syndrome, nor was Rob hallucinating in any way, shape or manner. Dr Psych and I had heated debates over this and his definition of a hallucination which he considered only memories of the past or flash backs. Well, Rob had no recollection of gorilla’s from his real pass climbing through windows and attacking him. And what about my face melting off before his very eyes, or the octopus that attacked him while we were at a church meeting.

After many months of debate and being brought to the brink of total burn out trying for six years to keep Rob manageable I insisted Rob be medicated or I was going to leave him in Dr Psych’s care by refusing to take him home. Then he could tell me nothing was wrong through personal experience not opinionated bias. He reluctantly said there was a drug but it probably wouldn’t work. I demanded Rob be given a trial just in case it probably did. A week later we returned to Dr Psych’s office with 90% drop in the level of psychotic symptoms; much to Dr Psych’s amazement and much to ours when he still resisted any recognition that Rob had schizophrenia or hallucinations just a settling of severe flash backs. Go figure.

Two years later we were forced to leave the care of Dr Psych after an unfortunate incident. But Rob still needed medication so I sought a private psychiatrist, Dr Too, who, like Dr GoodPsych, immediately accepted Rob’s hallucinations and other issues for what they really were. Sadly, only months later he informs us that he’s leaving. His hands were bound by law that when his patients went into the public hospital he wasn’t allowed to see them. He could no longer deal with seeing his clients become sick or sicker while under public ‘care’. All he could do was sit back and see them suffer and some ultimately die. He gave us the number of a private psychiatrist. I handed it back when I saw the name. I explained we were known to this now private psychiatrist, Dr Brilliant, and that I considered him brainless and felt pity for anyone having the misfortune of coming under his ‘care’. Dr Too said Dr Brilliant was not brainless and handed me back the paper. Dr Brilliant when Rob had seen him was a public psychiatrist but recently had left to become a private one apparently due to some disagreement within the public arena. Some? Make that more than you can poke a stick at more like.

So shortly after, Rob and I sat face to face with Dr Brilliant. What a change from the past. We listened to an articulate man who might as well have been a total stranger to us. I wondered what hell he must have been through while in the public system trying to hold back all words of wisdom and instead have to spew rubbish and lies to his pass public patients and their families and friends. My derogative past assessment of this man who had now authored one book held no water; he had not fobbed us off, the system had. He was definitely not brainless. And, my goodness, now as a private psychiatrist he not only spoke rationally he was the only one bulk billing at the time and was contactable by phone and email!!

Due to a collapse in my health Rob ended up in hospital for thirteen hellish months. (Read my article: Invalid Medical Enduring Power of Attorney?) We didn’t have to just deal with Miss Social Worker bent on destroying any ties Rob and I had between us but we were again at the mercy of the public mental health system – and Dr. Psych. Once I knew Dr Psych was Rob’s public psychiatrist I knew he didn’t have a hope in hell receiving appropriate treatment. Not that he had much chance with the others either. Thankfully his meds were not changed. Dr Psych knew if there were any changes he’d not get this demon from the pass off his back. But since Dr Psych still refused to recognise Rob’s psychosis we just hoped Rob would survive on his medication, my visits and the quiet support of most of the remarkable nurses that prevent the hospital from falling into total chaos.

Unfortunately with my ill health I was not up to the relentless false accusations spewing from public social workers and hospital doctors regarding my character and intensions toward Rob. At the time I was dying and as far as they were concerned I couldn’t die quick enough so they could relieve themselves of a very large thorn in their collaborative butts. So I decided to step back and not visit Rob for a couple of weeks.

Only ten days later I receive a phone call from the hospital. I was not to worry, Rob was still alive, but he had tried to kill himself and had sustained a small gash to his head after driving his electric wheelchair down a flight of stairs and writing it off. She freely admitted he’d warned the nurse on duty some minutes before hand. I reassured the nurse that it was not the fault of the nurse and I hoped the poor woman was ok. All responsibility rested squarely on Dr Psych’s shoulders but no one would care as he’d plenty of people he could either blame or cover for him. He’d refused on numerous occasions requests from both myself and Rob to write in Rob’s referring notes that Rob was a possible danger to himself and must be watched at all times. The nurses were doing their jobs with the only available information they had. Despite their support on most things the nurses had been lead to believe Rob was only fooling around in order to get attention so best ignore him. Told the nurse I’d be up in a couple hours to assess his situation – it turned out to be a life saving decision – and two hours should be enough time for x-rays and stiches to the small gash on his head.

Rob was wheeled into his room some minutes after Mum and I arrived with his head tightly bound by a blood saturated bandage. The staff were waiting on the arrival of a surgeon to stitch him up. Mum left the room in tears. The surgeon arrived and immediately unleashed his wrath on Rob about taking up his valuable time from the operating theatre to come and see to him and wasting hospital resources. This in turn reinforced Rob’s belief that his life was worthless and he deserved to die. I told the surgeon to send the bill to Dr Psych and the reasons why. Dr Surgeon then reinforced his wrath by taking it out on Rob’s head by sowing him up like a sack of potatoes. Then losing patience over the last five centimetres of gash used a staple gun and missed the mark a couple of times. Rather scary to think after this he was heading back to the operating theatre.

I held back any urge to take the needle and thread out his hands, stitch up his opinionated big mouth, boot him out the room and stitch Rob myself. Instead, a rare moment of diplomacy over came me and I started chatting a little about Rob’s crappy life that had lead him down the stairs in the first place. The surgeon then looked a little embarrassed and calmed down somewhat as I calmly held Rob's scalp together and showed I wasn’t the kind to faint at the sight of blood and guts as I’d in the past shoved Rob’s bowel back after his colostomy prolapsed several times. Ah, common ground.

Small gash!! Rob’s head looked as though he had been attacked by a machete. Collectively forty centimetres worth of gashes that hung exposing his skull and it took ages to bring the bleeding under control.Rob went into shock twice a couple of hours after the surgeon left and I had to alert the staff who hadn’t noticed while I feverously kept him conscious while they hunted down a doctor and my Mum again retreated from the room. This is when we met the first doctor out of three who treated both of us like human beings. As soon as she knew I’d been Rob’s fulltime carer for many years she immediately told me to assess his condition as I’d be the only one able to tell her which of his senses were now affected through the fall and which senses were normal due to his cerebral palsy. He was now like a rag doll where Rob’s always stiff, he’d nearly stopped breathing, he could barely open his eyes and his pupils were dilated.

There’s no doubt in my mind if he’d been left in bed without me there he’d have died that night as no one would’ve noticed the difference between Rob’s normal cerebral palsy response during his sleep from the lapse into shock from the fall. Rob wasn’t pleased I’d helped keep him alive and I wasn’t sure I’d done the right thing as I watched him fighting to breath under his oxygen mask. Perhaps I should’ve just walked quietly away and not alerted staff that Rob had gone into shock. He’d wanted to die since he was seven years of age. No one would have know he was not sleeping but in shock until it was too late. And the way things stood what did Rob have to live for.

Dr Psych still didn’t wish to see Rob. He didn’t wish to be part of Rob’s games. Others from his ‘team’ came to see him. They reassured Rob he’d see regularly a psychiatrist from now on. But once it was obvious Rob wasn’t going to die and had no apparent spinal damage they went back on their word and instead arranged for a counsellor from a church based organisation to come and speak with Rob. The counsellor only saw him a couple of times and said Rob needed a psychiatrist not a counsellor and wondered why she’d been called in. She was ignored and Rob was instead given phone numbers for crisis line and another help line if he felt depressed or in need to speak with anyone.

During the whole thirteen months Rob only saw Dr Psych once; on the day he was admitted to the hospital. And after a couple of his medical team advised Rob to start to learn not to be reliant on others to live his life for him that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’d battled for sixteen years trying to convince Rob that he wasn’t a leech on society nor was he using people. I’d pushed Rob on many occasions (sometimes overly) to find out what he could and couldn’t achieve and then these idiots say this! Bloody hell! Rob has no choice but to be totally reliant on people. That’s why he has a 24/7 guilt complex and no self worth. He’s a quadriplegic with mental illness with huge chunks of dead brain tissue from a premature birth and oxygen deprivation that limits his understanding life skills and doesn’t always fully understanding what people tell him. Rob told them he didn’t wish for them to see him again.

This is when I went to see if Dr Brilliant could see Rob outside the hospital if we got a day pass and drove by taxi to his office. Dr Brilliant again stated that by law he was still not allowed to see Rob while Rob was a patient in the public hospital even if he was off hospital grounds. And as Rob had nowhere to live now that I was sick and living in a tent that meant Rob would have to remain in the public hospital with others in similar plight with no access to his private psychiatrist and pretty much defenceless.

And to further sow up Rob’s fate Miss Social Worker arranged for an ‘independent’ assessment by a neuropsychiatrist who apparently concluded Rob had no psychosis, no further brain damage, was only mildly depressed and showed manipulative behaviours. Yes, these guys are good. After years of cover ups they’ve had heaps of practice. This report mysteriously disappeared from Rob’s bedside cabinet before I had a chance to read it. All requests to read it were denied. Rob had to request it. After several requests from Rob we’re still yet to see the slanderous report. A report I feel sure will be read by future doctors and social workers who will take it as gospel and hinder any treatment Rob may need in the future. Yep, sowed us both up real good and left Rob feeling justified over his suicide attempt and opinion of himself as a worthless worm deserving only of death and a total waste of space. And left him increasingly upset he’d failed in his suicide attempt and more upset I’d helped him out of his shock.

After eighteen years I’ve a lot to reflect on and can say without hesitation that the public health system is a Titanic and the private an Ark and that would generally explain why the world is sinking. I grieve for families and friends who’ve unnecessarily lost loved ones or who are fighting at this moment to keep them safe and alive. How close both Rob and I came to being on the list of avoidable deaths. Rob’s and my own pain and torture can only be fused with that of others.

Documented deaths and reports of abuse and neglect submitted to both local and Federal Government fall forever on deaf ears. Nothing is ever done to bring justice for the dead and the maimed living. No accountability asked from the abusers. Nothing, nothing, nothing! Just more cover ups; more doctors of death climbing ladders to prominence out of reach from the hand of the law within a powerful public medical system at war with the private and even within their own circles; a war between those with a conscience and those lacking any visible sign of a shred of humanity.

A supportive and concerned doctor advised me to forget and get on with my life as the medical machine would crush me. But how can we move forward and forget when we still have to wade through lies and slander. When some of us have lost loved ones. Past history makes our future history. And as for me and Rob we’ve nearly been crushed out of existence anyway. So let us raise our head for that one last breath if that’s what’s to be. We’ll not be treated like dogs at the hands of abusive masters left cowering in the corner with our tails between our legs like terrified puppies. People ask why I advocate. I do so not only because I have to but because I want to.

The deep scar from Rob’s preventable suicide attempt.

Thankfully, Rob can’t see his scar daily. Unfortunately it’s still a constant reminder of medical neglect and indifference and a living memorial for those who have died and will continue to needlessly die. A reminder of those who will never be made accountable. I look at Rob's scar and see the many faces that abused him and I over the eighteen years.

Strangers see this scar and naturally conclude Rob must have been in a serious accident leaving him a quadriplegic. Those who hear the story behind the scar generally wish they hadn’t but see the necessity if there's to be any hope in finding a way to protect those we love through our own initiative as the mostly silent politicians aren't going to do anything to change laws nor are they going to even listen.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Medical Enduring Power of Attorney invalid?!

Medical Power of Attorney is invalid in the Northern Territory of Australia. Shocked? So was I. And Rob, who has been mentally ill with schizophrenia since childhood as well as quadriplegic, was not only shocked but terrified. Being terrified was not too strong a reaction given the many unpleasant experiences unleashed upon both of us since taking him into my care in 1994. We were told about this unsettling revelation by an appointed hospital based social worker about two years ago while he spent thirteen months in hospital hell. That piece of paper we were waving around for some time meant zero, zilch; much to her delight and the delight of a handful of newly enlightened hospital doctors and more than a few department workers. The doctors and various department workers thought the Enduring Power of Attorney was valid until Miss Social Worker arrived on the scene.

Having had the not so legal document drawn up by a private Darwin legal service and paid for in cash during 1998 to curb harassment by doctors and government department workers I thought Miss Social Worker must have had the facts wrong. I went to another firm and Miss Social Worker and the hospital’s legal team were dead right. Trust a hospital here to know all the ‘laws’ that render the vulnerable minority groups in the Northern Territory such as the mentally ill, severely handicapped, aged or brain injured – and their families and/or carers - near helpless when faced with a medical issue. Apparently the rest of the Enduring POA was valid regarding Rob’s right to choose me to handle his finances and sign certain documents as he had given permission for me to be his signatory. Except of course for medical situations where sometimes my signature was permitted in the presence of witnesses just to make sure I was not holding a gun to Rob’s head. But that was not enough for Miss Social Worker who, even before meeting me, was harassing Rob to sign papers that would invalidate the entire POA. As long as I had a POA he would never be ‘free’ she and two others concluded.

I had been approaching the Ombudsman’s office on Rob’s behalf to report what we felt were various human rights violations before the POA revelation. But as soon as I reported to this office that the medical side of the Enduring POA was invalid they were legally bound to immediately cease any further investigations unless Rob reported issues himself. So the mythical yellow brick road to the Ombudsman was close as tight as a clam. I could hear the collective sighs of relief that our too politically too hot to handle situation had fallen through a massive loop hole and hopefully would become someone else’s headache. This sent more shock waves through Rob’s already confused and fearful state. Now Miss Social Worker and Co had more to celebrate as they knew Rob would be incapable of knowing when or what to report or what he should and shouldn’t sign.

Signing papers was a long standing joke between Rob and me that we freely shared with others who were also rather appalled over what we had learnt regarding signatures. When we first got together I bought Rob an ink pad since he could not write unless typing with one finger on a computer key board. I though his scribbled and always different ‘X’ that he struggled to scrawl on any paper after a major battle to secure any writing implement between his fingers should be replaced by his finger print –easier and surely more ‘legal’. It was confirmed while taking out the Enduring POA that Rob’s ‘X’ was actually more ‘legal’ than his finger print. Though lawyers’ incorrectly thought a Medical POA in the Northern Territory was valid the apparently lesser valued finger print info was correct though it had been permissible on a marriage certificate and a certain medical directive witnessed by Justices’ of Peace. ‘Madness’ is all I could say to the lawyers concerned and continue to say as I help Rob on occasion to ‘write’ his mark that any three year old could forge. It was no surprise that Miss Social Worker also knew about and wanted the ‘X’.

So the medical and departmental ‘powers to be’ mostly ignored my directives on the most appropriate and safe physical care needed for Rob after 16 fulltime years as his carer. Ignored also additional warnings from both of us, including his case manager, regarding the dangers his mental illness sometimes posed to him if not watched. The essential emotional and mental support of constant love, compassion and, if not understanding, at least some compassion for an individual whose brain tinkered on the brink of chaos daily was rarely implemented so thirteen months of hell for both of us followed due to the loss of the Medical POA.

If it had not been for the majority of wonderful, caring, and very hard working nurses trying their very best to comfort Rob and me without being ‘sprung’, or they’d get the sack, both of us would not have survived. Only three doctors out of the many that came and ‘looked’ at Rob like some lab specimen had any genuine compassion and respect for Rob or myself. I rarely publically praise these temporarily stationed doctors for their refreshing attitude or they would have been ostracised in the hospital or warned not to go against the opinions of permanent, dictating, long established, irremovable doctors who frequently intimidated their ‘lesser’ colleagues. In other words ‘tow the line’. Rob and I both had to pretty much keep our appreciation and reciprocated respect towards these three doctors and the majority of nurses between them and us.

And what was Rob – a gentle and most beautiful soul totally dependent on others for all his needs – forced to do to defend himself with no one to advocate for him? He refused to eat on several occasions. How shameful when a human being is forced to take such radical action to protect him or herself from those claiming to protect those of us in most need of protection, help and support. And all I could do was support his actions and advise him not to sign anything unless I first read it and explained its contents and any consequences. And where was Rob’s private psychiatrist during this thirteen months of hell in a public health sector? That is our next shocking revelation reserved for later.

Here I say thank you to those who helped us and continue to do so. And to those who attempted to strip Rob of any control over his life and run me out of it and still attempt to? I can only say shame on you all. But to such ones with arrogant minds, injurious hearts and seemingly lifeless souls, any sort of words and reasoning are wasted as you all laugh amongst one another, as I’ve seen with my own eyes, knowing any laws regarding Human Rights are essentially invalid in the Northern Territory.
0413 305 393

NEXT ARTICLE: Laws bar Private Psychiatrists' access to patients

I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. - Elie Wiesel

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Illegal philanthropy?

An open letter to a journalist

Hi, ****

I’ve been searching for some answers regarding why it’s apparently illegal for philanthropists to make donations to individuals; that they can only donate through organisations. I just read your article from *****.....

I wanted to be a philanthropist some years ago when I had a business. I intended to donate such things as communication boards, electric wheelchairs and wheelchair accessible vehicles to individuals I had heard about after personally meeting locals in the Northern Territory in order to get the ‘full’ story before donating. Being a full time carer of a cerebral palsy quadriplegic, Rob, since 1994 down to today (part time this pass year) I was painfully aware of how difficult it is for adults and their carers to obtain essentials; it’s hard enough for children.

When I first cared for Rob we were left catching taxis draining us of all our pension money. I approached the government requesting a loan repaid by deducting fortnightly a percentage of our pension over a period of ten years. This was turned down as they didn’t want us in perpetual debt. They didn’t mind us spending all our pension on taxis after food, rent and other bills leaving us dependent on others’ time schedules but not in debt for ten years and independent. We were told to approach charitable organisations for a vehicle. No one could help as Rob was an adult or they didn’t have the money. We had no children, did not smoke, drink, gamble and lived a very simple life so could have easily afforded to pay the Australian taxpayer back over a period of ten years. I make vehicles last for at least 10 years.

My present vehicle is a 1984 Toyota Hi Ace high roof Commuter now on its last legs bought secondhand paying back the $8000 to a friend some 7 years ago after a Toyota company in Sydney - who was willing to help provide us with a good second hand van at $22,000 (and were going to freight it to us free) - found out it was illegal to finance us as we were pensioners!! I had just started a business then with the intention of raising money to buy essential and safe equipment for Rob that the government both Fed and Local refused to assist with.

Two Darwin based philanthropists wanted to help but said they were not permitted to help with anything over $5000. Could this be part reason for many wealthy individuals reluctance to give gifts or money? When I had my philanthropy dreams I decided I would not give money to an organisation (This was before I knew it would be illegal to help an individual) as I wanted to choose who my money went to having seen some ‘helped’ through these organisations who could have helped themselves or money partly taken for running costs and so forth or a child placed over that of an adult. Children and their families should not be begging for help. Governments exploit enough tax from people and save billions annually by exploitation of carers but do not provide adequately for Australia’s disabled children. They deliberately choose to burden cash strapped organisations and families with the responsibility.

Today I am disabled through medical negligence and not entitled to a cent in compensation. I lost my business and as a result Rob has been placed in inappropriate care and given a dangerous electric wheelchair and the relevant government department's dragging its feet – as usual - over the situation. No hope of replacing our ’84 vehicle and those who want to help have their hands tied. Perhaps again, this is one reason for the stinginess of some wealthy Australians; philanthropist legally prevented from helping many they may wish to help.

Every time I see or hear the word philanthropist I think of what could have been.


Sam Davies
0413 305 393

Anyone who knows Dick Smith pass this on to him. Perhaps he knows the answer to my question. Or any philanthropist, politician, Joe Blow etc...

NEXT ARTICLE: Medical Power of Attorney is INVALID in the Northern Territory of Australia.

I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. - Elie Wiesel