6,400 mile flight back to UK for sick father

Michael Matthewman.
Michael Matthewman.

A DUNS man who is desperately trying to get his sick father home from South Africa has enlisted the help of his local MSP John Lamont.

Leigh Matthewman believes that his 76-year-old father Michael was discharged from hospital too early after undergoing treatment for a tumour in his mouth.

His mother Joan (71) is struggling to cope with caring for Michael at home, and Lee now believes that his father’s only chance is to get him back to Britain so he can look after him and get him the medical treatment he needs.

After being contacted by Leigh last week, Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont confirmed: “On Friday, I sent urgent letters to Nicola Sturgeon (the Scottish Health Secretary) and the Foreign Office Minister in London to ask for help. We have not heard back yet but I suspect they may be making enquiries via the embassy in South Africa.”

Leigh’s parents have lived in South Africa since 1981 but things took a turn for the worse when his father took ill last year.

“My mother is elderely and can’t cope as my father needs regular morphine injections,” said Lee.

“It took them a long time to diagnose the mouth tumour and then he had to wait five months for treatment. When he finally went into the state-run hospital they put him on the wrong ward and he wasn’t able to eat the food they gave him so my mother kept him alive by feeding him yoghurt. When he was eventually moved onto the oncology ward he needed treatment for both the tumour and starvation. He wouldn’t have been discharged when he was if he had been in a British hospital.

“In addition to his current situation with the cancer he has also suffered from a stroke about a year ago and lost his sight in one eye. He only has one eye that is functioning, no nasal functions and no palette in his mouth. It is therefore really important to me that I get him over as soon as possible so I can spend any remaining time that he has with me and in the most comfortable surroundings that I can provide.

Mr Matthewman left his job in the UK to travel to South Africa to visit his parents, but since his return he has been unemployed. Raising the £4,500 fare it would cost for him to travel to South Africa and accompany his father back to this country is proving impossible which is why he has turned to the Government to see if they can help.