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Theda suicidal as in-home treatment refused

Thursday 9 September 2010

Theda Myint with mother Carol Adams and partner Blake Graham
Theda's partner Blake Graham, mother Carol Adams and
family dog Maggie keep a vigil at the bedside of her
Willetton house. Photo: Chalpat Sonti

From WA Today:

Theda suicidal as in-home treatment refused

Katherine Fenech
September 6, 2010

Perth chronic fatigue syndrome sufferer Theda Myint's health has deteriorated to the point where she was considering suicide but repeated pleas for an in-home pain relief treatment have been knocked back, her mother said.

The 34-year-old Willetton woman has been battling a form of myalgic encephalomyelitis, better known as chronic fatigue syndrome, for the past 10 years.

Her condition has worsened so dramatically in the past two months that her mother, Carol Adams, fears for her life.

"She is so suicidal with these headaches, she has a migrane every day," Ms Adams said.

"She can't talk at the moment because it hurts too much, she can't communicate with us, she can't write."

Even on a good day Theda cannot tolerate light, sound or touch and is in constant pain, has severe headaches and migraines.

"She can't even distract herself by listening to book tapes a lot of the time, so she's laying in this pitch dark bedroom, no sound, no anything, trying to cope with this pain," Ms Adams said.

"Since we started speaking to the media I've had four mums ring me with suicidal children (who have ME/CFS). One boy, whenever his mum says 'what can I do?' he says 'buy me a gun'."

Theda was admitted to Fremantle Hospital's acute pain clinic for 10 days in late June, where she was put on intravenous therapy and added to a waiting list for the chronic pain clinic on her discharge from hospital.

Ms Adams said the hospital's treatment was excellent but that her daughter's condition meant she didn't fit within "the normal boxes" for continued help.

The IV treatment is one Ms Adams has been fighting for Theda to access from her home for the past three years. It was approved by Theda's current GP and is used to treat patients in Europe.

"Theda does respond to IVs, she's given solutions of vitamins and minerals and the IV magnesium helps her pain, but you've got this massive cost involved with doing it," she said.

"The pain clinic has offered help but it means going in for a whole morning and being interviewed by four people, but I have to explain that she cannot go into the hospital. She's so sensitive to noise at the moment that her entire room's closed up all the time."

In a letter emailed to Health Minister Kim Hames on May 20, Ms Adams explained that trips to hospital were often torturous for Theda and renewed her plea for an IV treatment at home, saying her daughter was "being punished because her very severe illness does not fit into the normal boxes".

"Her multi-chemical sensitivities mean that she is allergic to every chemical in the hospital, from the nurses' personal toiletries and washing powders used on their clothes to the chemicals used in all hospitals," she wrote.

"When Theda has been in hospital, I have found it necessary to provide Theda's food and much of her nursing."

When asked Dr Hames' office whether Theda would receive home hospital treatment, he said Ms Adams had raised concerns with him in June.

"After speaking to my office, Ms Adams reported she was very happy with the medical treatment being received by her daughter, Theda," Dr Hames said.

A spokeswoman for Dr Hames said Theda's GP should send another referral for Hospital in the Home.

An email from Dr Hames' office sent to Ms Adams last week said they had consulted a Fremantle Hospital doctor, who is treating Theda for a different aspect of her illness. That doctor said IV fluids wasn't the standard treatment for her condition, although he admitted it was outside his field of expertise.

"Theda's GP and I have done everything to go through the correct channels without success. This is why I contacted Dr Hames," Ms Adams said.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263).

The article originally appeared here.

Please note: This article contains references to death. If you have feelings of helplessness, or of suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately. Lifeline is an excellent starting point: Lifeline – Suicide Prevention resources and links.



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