19th Oct 2017 10:53:58 AM

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Vusi Mathibela
Main Pic

Vusi Mathibela was born on the 19th July 1989. He is 14 years old and in grade 6. whereas he should be in grade 9. On the 8th January 2003, a candle fell over and set Vusi’s house on fire in a very poor rural community in KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga province (just on the edge of Gauteng), about an hour’s drive north of Pretoria. The ceiling collapsed on him. He was burned on his face, neck, arms (to elbows), and his knees. He was treated by the Garankua Hospital in the Department of Plastic Surgery by Dr SS Selahle He has had good reconstructive surgery and been fitted with pressure garments to reduce keloid scarring on his face and hands. However he wears long sleeve jerseys and gloves all the time. He refuses to leave the house and won’t go to school, because the children call him “monster”. He is ashamed of his burns. His main problem is psychological. Children of Fire has offered to help with both surgical and psychological needs. Children come to stay with us in Auckland Park a little like a “burns camp” but in a more secure and loving family environment. They attend the school that we have established in the same road and have outings and a detailed educational and psychological assessment. Our 'methods' are largely to let them mix with other kids like themselves and to be around 'normal' people who are totally used to burns and who do not react negatively to their appearance or any disability. This helps them to cope better, to understand what the future holds and to know what help is available to them. Before they visit, we establish their home language, their ability to understand English, and their educational grade – but often they are not truly at the grade in which they have been placed at school. If they have a TV star as a hero, because of our proximity to the SABC and other media, we sometimes can arrange for them to meet someone that they admire. Medically: Vusi does not have diabetes, epilepsy or HIV. His nose bleeds when it is hot.Vusi was referred to Children of Fire on November 4th 2003. His “case worker” Melanie Streicher was informed that it is possible to improve the facial keloiding (lumpiness) though once the skin has a tendency to keloid, it can do so again. It is also possible to improve the child's hairline. From the photos we did not think it likely that his hands could be improved further. Information on his ID or birth certificate, family circumstances, exactly what happened medically to date (including vaccinations), whether the child has contractures e.g. arms or legs that won't straighten, is still outstanding. The question as to whether he has open sores e.g. at inner elbow or inner knee was not answered nor whether the child is receiving any medical treatment of any kind at the moment. The distance to Garankua needs to be known as well as the name(s) of other hospitals and clinics close by. If a GP is involved, we need a contact number and email. In mid February 2004 Joke Parre of MCDC in KwaMhlanga took over from Melanie Streicher as the case worker for Vusi. We expect him to visit us in March 2004.





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