A wonderfully touching testimonial from one of our clients
The story of our Son
We got married in October 1997, and our son Brendan was born on the 16th of May 1999, severely premature. He was born at 26 weeks and weighed a mere 751 grams. He was hospitalized for 11 weeks in total. The tribulations our son had whilst in the NICU was very hard for us to bear, but we made sure that we visited him every single day. Everybody prayed that he would survive this.
The day we were told we could take him home was the happiest day of our lives. He was still on oxygen, so therefore, we had to have a machine installed in our house, to assist with his breathing. Everything was wonderful, he was born a premature and he survived. We were planning our future and what lies ahead for our son.
But, then the worst news we believe any parent wants to hear, and that is that there is something wrong with this precious little person. We started to notice that Brendan does not respond to light or any type movement. Being first time parents, we were overcome with worry. We made an appointment with a recognized ophthalmologist. He informed us that Brendan has ROP stage 5 bilateral, which means that he is totally blind in both eyes. We also discovered he has cerebral palsy. Our world came tumbling down. What now, where do we go, what do we do??? These were question we had no answers too.
Our lives changed instantaneously. We lost friends, who could deal with the situation. We were financially challenged, which was a great concern because Brendan will require specialised treatment and therapy. Our medical aid was exhausted by March of every year, and we had to pursue any kind of avenue to get him the best quality care possible. Our debt was probably more than triple what we earned. Our parents assisted us where they could, and we thank them for everything.
As the years passed, coping with Brendan’s disability became easier, and in 2004 we were blessed with a little girl we named Bridget. In 2008 I came across an advertisement in a newspaper, regarding medical negligence relating to Retinopathy of Prematurity. The advertisement was placed by Paul du Plessis Attorneys. We were not sure what to do, should we pursue this, or keep on going as we were. Our parents said what do you have to lose? Talk to the man……..
And so we did. In August 2008 we made contact with Paul, and our lives changed. We met at our house, I think he might have been a little bit overwhelmed, because all the grandparents were present too. After telling him our story, he told us, that he will take on this case as a medical negligence case. We were stunned, and so our journey with Paul, Hermien and Adv Mullins started.
The journey was long and hard. After the gathering of all the documentation, Paul did what he does best, he fought for our son. Months would pass, and we would hear nothing, but Hermien, would put our minds at ease, saying all is in process. Paul was always readily available to answer any of our questions, or calm us down. The journey is tiring, and there was a time that we wanted to just let go and not go on. But, again Paul reminded us to focus on the goal and what we can achieve for Brendan by continuing.
We were notified that the first trial date has been set for the 28th of May 2010. Then, ironically just before Brendan’s birthday, the defendant agreed to pay for Brendan’s damages due to his blindness. Ok, what does that mean. Again, Paul calmed us down and explained in detail. that an amount would be determined only after quantification of Brendan’s disability. This meant that Brendan had to be assessed by numerous, specialists, doctors and professors.
Paul was in contact with us all the time, to see how we were coping and if there was anything else he could assist us with, to make this final part of our journey easier. We will always remember his words: “guys this is the final stretch, be strong”. This wasn’t easy, but we were too far along now to give up. The quantification process took approximately 6 months. We were notified that a new court date has been set for the 31st of May 2011. We started making preparations with Paul, for the court day. Then again, just before Brendan’s birthday, the defendant approached Paul and informed him that they wanted to table a settlement proposal. Paul, very excited contacted us and an appointment was made. The settlement was signed. We had won!!
In June of 2011 the monies were paid into a secured trust for Brendan. This lifted an enormous financial burden from the family, so much that I could be stay at home and be Brendan’s full time caregiver. We were able to provide Brendan with the best medical care possible, no matter what the cost.
Since the settlement :
• Brendan had his cerebral palsy operated on and he can walk properly
• We were able to build him a therapy centre on our property, were he receives his therapy
• He gets therapy three times a week, occupational and physiotherapy
• Blind SA is onboard as well, assisting him with independence training as well as mobility
• Brendan has a love for music and we were able to provide him with musical instruments
Our journey still continues, but it is so much easier. We now have specialists transferring their skill to me, to assist with his development.
We would like to thank Paul and his team from the bottom of our hearts for everything they did for Brendan and for us as a family. Without you guys, we don’t know what our future would have been like. But now, it is damn awesome.