2020 Winning Stories

I was referred to Dr Mike du Toit by my physician after being diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in my liver. My kidneys and liver were failing. I was so weak that I was wheelchair-bound and barely able to walk. I went from consult to ward with blood transfusions, platelet transfusions and chemotherapy I was a 55-year-old independent, single parent of a 14-year-old son with a mother who was recovering from a heart attack and back surgery, and in the process of moving into a retirement village. Dr Mike took this all in hand and in his calm, kind steadfast manner, approached my treatment with knowledge and an air of certainty that I felt no doubt that he had everything under control. Six chemotherapy sessions and multiple tests later, I was in remission. I am undergoing treatment again for DLBCL in different lymphs and feel entirely safe in the hands of my hero, Dr Mike du Toit.

Lita Futeran, Western Cape

Dr Lander is an anaesthetist. Throughout the days, we had COVID-19 patients in ICU and he was beside the nurses caring for them. On many occasions, he spent the entire day and night in the hospital to ensure that the nurses had the support they needed, and to ensure the patients’ conditions remained stable. He was also instrumental in ensuring that the patients’ loved ones were kept updated on their conditions on a daily basis.

Vasie Govindasamy, Kwa-Zulu Natal

Dr Seeraj has been our family doctor for about eight years and has always been amazing. Upon my check-up in September 2020, she shared with me the news of her brother, who was also a doctor, had passed away from COVID-19. Despite mourning her loss and the risk of contracting the virus herself and spreading it to her family, she continued to practise and care for her patients.

Melissa Pillay, Gauteng

Dr Silva Fernandes is concerned about improving patients’ lives. Even when his surgery is full of patients waiting to be seen to, he takes his time and makes sure that you get all the help you need. I am suffering from depression and experienced back and chest pain, and I also thought that my heart was being affected. I explained to him that I am stressed and depressed after which he checked my heart and confirmed that it was fine. I was surprised when he sat me down and gave me counselling, which took over 30 minutes, even though he had other patients who were waiting to be seen to. I was touched by his kindness – the fact that he is not a counsellor, but gave me advice, motivation and encouragement. He even transferred me to see a physician because of the worst back pain I had experienced. I was able to overcome depression thanks to Dr Silva’s advice. To me, he is more than just a doctor – he is like a parent who is concerned about his kids’ health. He doesn’t dispense medication, but before he prescribes medication, he checks whether your medical aid covers those medications and writes down all medications your medical will pay. Dr Silva Fernandez is a hero.

Ralph Temosho Modika, Gauteng

I have had two stillborn babies at 37 weeks because of abruptio. When I met Dr Silver, a gynaecologist and obstetrician, she understood my past and picked up that I was a high-risk patient. She gave me special care as she has experience with high-risk patients that have successfully given birth to healthy babies. I am currently 31 weeks into my pregnancy and Dr Silver has referred me to Steve Biko hospital, as per my request to give birth there. Dr Silver assured me that she is available whenever I need her assistance. We need more doctors like her, because they know how to treat patients and their special needs.

Mbali Tshali, Gauteng

Past Winning Stories

I was admitted to Mediclinic Constantiaberg by my neurologist, Dr Green, to undergo a series of tests to determine what my brain went through during seizures. It was found that the part of my brain that controlled my short-term memory and emotions had been damaged. It was recommended that I undergo a right temporal lobotomy operation – a procedure that comes with serious side effects such as loss of sight, meningitis and depression. Dr Green stood by me throughout and took me under her wing during some trying times after surgery. The operation went so well that Dr Green asked me to talk to her patients who might be worried about undergoing similar procedures.

Fiona Kruger, Doctors’ Day 2019 winner

I was paralysed. The whole world had stopped in front of my eyes. I felt nothing. The day it happened, and the 15 days in hospital, felt dreadful and empty. What will I do? How will I cope? What if I could not walk again? Dr Naveen recommended I start physiotherapy at home. My husband began the physiotherapy and Dr Naveen visited every day to see my progress. One day, he sat with me and talked. He told me to pucker up and believe in myself, because he believed in me. I did my best and so did he. After six months, I stood up for the first time. I will always be thankful and will never forget Dr Naveen, because he gave me a new life.

Leah Gaebee, Doctors’ Day 2019 winner

I have two hero doctors – Dr Chohan and Dr Essey. My husband suffered a major stroke in January. If things couldn’t get any worse, my mother passed away five days later. Things started to go very wrong when my husband was transferred from ICU to a rehab facility. I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. In desperation, I phoned Dr Chohan – my husband’s doctor while in ICU – and he took complete control of the situation. With Dr Chohan, you just know that you are in good hands – he has a calm and practical approach and truly cares for his patients and their loved ones. When your husband suffers a stroke and comes home after three months in a wheelchair and a pipe in his stomach, you need an amazing house doctor that you can phone for help. Dr Essey is just that! He goes beyond the call of duty and keeps in contact after consultations to see if you are okay. He is truly amazing! He runs his practice with an iron fist, and is gentle and caring towards his patients.

Tilani Edwards, Doctors’ Day 2019 winner

Dr Peter de Jong is an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. He was very professional and courteous during all my visits, and was always willing to listen and clearly explain the treatment that was needed for my condition. I was very confident in his knowledge and skill, so I had no worry about the surgery. I am very grateful to him and his team for the wonderful care I received. He delivered my first-born child and was I taken aback by the humanity I received. It was as if I was part of his family. He called me a few days later and spoke for almost an hour, just to find out how I and baby were doing and how he could help. He also treated my husband’s cousin when she was visiting us, even though she had no medical aid. She suffered major abdominal pain and he arranged a bed and doctor for her at hospital to be treated for a ruptured cyst. He then called every day to hear how she was doing. I am forever grateful to him. Doctor de Jong is an excellent doctor and always goes the extra mile for his patients. I have had the blessing of having three beautiful, healthy girls aged 10, 7 and 3. Many thank yous and blessings to him, his family and practice for the love, care and understanding, and for doing what they do with passion and love.

Unica Badenhorst, Doctors’ Day 2019 winner

Our family doctor was just amazing. He diagnosed my grandfather’s diabetes and made himself part of the family to make sure my grandparents were taken care of. He invited them for breakfast at his home every Sunday (he stayed a few blocks away from us), and was always ready to help when we needed it. When my grandmother passed away, he gave my mom his personal cell phone number in case of emergencies, and years later, when we found my grandfather in a diabetic coma, we called him and he arrived at the house before the ambulance. He was just an all-round amazing man, who unfortunately passed on too soon.

Matt, Hot 91.9 FM Doctors’ Day 2019 winner

My doctor is the best ever. When I unexpectedly fell pregnant with my fourth child, she was incredibly patient and understanding of all my decisions. She always made time for me and my double, and showed compassion during the amniocentesis. She even agreed to do my C-section on a Saturday, at a hospital she doesn’t even practice and at a greatly discounted price. She happily came to see baby and I on her weekend. I am forever grateful to her for taking care of us. Dr Naidoo is the absolute best. She deserves a medal.

Elaine, Hot 91.9 FM Doctors’ Day 2019 winner

Last year, I had issues with my lungs. I saw many doctors and none of them could figure out what was wrong. But Dr Bianca Lawrence was my saving grace. She got me admitted to hospital and, along with a great team of nurses, sorted me out. I am so grateful to her for making my breathing easy again.

Jasmin Kelleher, Hot 91.9 FM Doctors’ Day 2019 winner

Without a doubt, the best doctor is Marina de Klerk in Olivedale. She’s the sweetest, most caring doctor ever. She even phones every now and then to hear how my mom is doing. It’s absolutely no hardship going to the doctor when she’s so lovely.

Janine von Zeuner, Hot 91.9 FM Doctors’ Day 2019 winner

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 4 October 2019. A team of doctors at Park Lane Breast Care did a brilliant surgical procedure removing the cancer. I will be forever indebted to Dr Carla Norval, Dr Sarah Nietz and Dr van Eeden.

Cookie Narai Samy, Hot 91.9 FM Doctors’ Day 2019 winner

When my brother was born, doctors said that he would not live past the age of six due to his mental condition. But Dr Struwig, our family doctor of many years, did everything in his power to save his life, going so far as covering the costs of operations and X-rays. Thanks to Dr Struwig, my brother is a healthy 50-year-old man. When my mother broke her hip at the age of 72, Dr Struwig was there for her. He performed X-rays and tests at his own cost and never asked for anything in return. He referred my mother to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, where she received the best medical care. Thank you Dr Struwig for everything you have done for our family. You are a one-in-a-billion physician. We love you.

Mark Van Zyl, Doctors’ Day 2019 winner

I had been suffering from agonising back and stomach pains for over two years, because no one could diagnose what was wrong. I rushed into the trauma unit at Groote Schuur Hospital fearing for my life. Dr Pollaris took one look at me and diagnosed me with porphyria.

Endiome, Doctors’ Day 2018 winner

Dr Teresa Jennings is the bravest doctor of all. She provides comfort and care to the most needy of patients. Dr Jennings has created a palliative care facility in Cape Town for under privileged children.

Gigi Walsh, Doctors’ Day 2018 winner

My doctor is 89 years old and has been practising for over 50 years and continues to serve his community. He was very active in medical politics, and in 1972 he helped break down racial discrimination in the Medical and Dental Council. He also served on the EST Committee and was a very dynamic chair and founder of the Durban South Doctors’ Guild. He has several other accomplishments including his title as the president of the South African Medical Association and being instrumental in the building and opening of the first private hospital in Chatsworth, the Chatsmed Garden Hospital. His service to humanity projects included hosting a medical camp for 30 days in 2015, for the victims of xenophobia at the Westcliff grounds refugee camp at his own cost. The setup of medical camps with free medical treatment stems back to the 1976 and 1987 floods, where Dr Perisamy N Govender doctor provided medical support at his own cost.

Angie Chetty, Doctors’ Day 2018 winner

I’d like to thank our favourite neurosurgeon in the world today, Dr A van Zyl. It is because of so many amazing doctors like you, that our son is alive today. We credit you to helping us save our son’s life. All the challenges that come with raising a child with spina bifida sure did seem scary back then. All we knew then was that we loved this little guy more than words can express. We truly appreciate you helping us find the optimism and for helping us to trust that he would be as amazing as he is today. You were right – children with spina bifida are unique and special, and our son has proven just how promising their lives can be. I wish for every family to be connected with doctors like you, who will help them understand that there are so many rewards that come with raising a child with spina bifida.

Mello Reginah Masolisa Letseka, Doctors’ Day 2018 winner

Our family doctor is one in a million. My son, who is 14 now, had scarlet fever when he was two years old. It was a freezing winter’s morning and it had started snowing. My son’s fever was so high that he had a seizure. We called the doctor straight away and he was at our house within 10 minutes! He also did home visits when my dad fell ill. He never charged my parents either as they were on a state pension. He would visit my dad every now and again to check on him, and was there for him right up to the end. Dr Van Niekerk is a true hero in his profession & a genuine all round nice person!

Kerrin Moore, Doctors’ Day 2018 winner