Dr Nell Jail or Bail’ event touches hearts

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, and Must Read.

October has been a wonderful opportunity for South Coast Hospice to raise awareness around palliative care and the work that hospice does. There were many events held throughout the month, each one reaching to a different audience and spreading the theme ‘Because I matter’ to many in the Port Shepstone community, and surrounding areas.

The ‘Dr Nell Jail or Bail’ event touched our hearts the most. Dr Nell, the medical officer at South Coast Hospice, was ‘jailed’ on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day at Shelly Centre, the local shopping centre. The community was encouraged to bail him out, with pledges and donations received going towards the purchase of a new wheelchair. Dr Nell, who has been a paraplegic for 25 years, received visits from his patients, concerned members of the community, and many children who gave love ‘through the bars.’

In the words of Diane van Dyk, South Coast Hospice’s CEO, ‘It takes courage to put yourself out in the public domain, and it takes courage to continue the work that he’s done. We thank Dr Nell for his compassionate service to the community, and we extend our sincere gratitude to all who have supported the drive to get Dr Nell a new wheelchair.

The mission continues. Rounding up funds for Dr Nell’s wheelchair continues until we reach our target and he’s sitting pretty. A huge thank you to all those who have contributed thus far. Your visits to him on Saturday were appreciated. To date, we have collected R40 000 towards our goal of R90 000.Pledges can still be sent through to BT on 082 7280233.

Read Dr Nell’s story below.

In 1993 a life shattering event changed the life of a bright and dedicated young doctor. Dr Andre Nell had been treating patients in the Umzumbe area. He was well known and liked in the area but fell victim to an attack by two unknown men who were trying to rob him of a few rands lying in his vehicle. He was shot. The bullet entered through his arm and found its cruel mark in Andre’s spine. He fell out of the bakkie and onto the road, and even through those traumatic moments, was able to think clearly and with courage. He asked for a door from a local shopkeeper, was placed on it for stability and was rushed to the Assissi Convent Hospital. He was then taken to Port Shepstone Hospital where he would receive life-saving assistance.

A young vibrant man, with a wife and three sons was told, ‘You are paralyzed below the chest. No chance of change.’

No one, but Andre and his loving family, knew the challenges that lay ahead when he returned from the Pretoria Military Hospital. He was trained to live life differently and his determination was unswerving. His stubborn ‘hardegat’ attitude saw him through some tough times. Within a short time, he was treating the most disadvantaged in the community from his home, to the great consternation of many of the Umtentweni residents who complained bitterly. With the assistance of a few good men, and women, the Council decided to let Andre rent the old clinic for the use of patient care.

As with all things in life, Amazing Grace stepped in. Hospice Founder Kath De Phillippi made a call and asked him to join the South Coast Hospice team under the medical Director Dr Hilton Horsley. Dr Andre Nell has chosen to care for the most vulnerable, those dying. His compassion, his understanding of pain and loss give him an affinity for those who need to surrender. His kindness leaves us humble and his extremely naughty sense of humour makes us blush and smile. He is a brave healer and an everyday hero. An example of palliative care in action.

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