A year has passed since we first met Mr H.* on the street. Many citizens had expressed their concern to us, as did the rest of the Brussels homeless network.
Indeed, his health (both physical and mental) and hygiene were catastrophic.
His life on the streets had already cost him both of his legs, from repeated injuries and infections. Despite the blanket thrown over them to hide them, the smell of his badly treated stumps was strong and alarming.
The situation was becoming critical: he had become a danger to himself.
We had to act as quickly as possible.
That's why, a few months ago, we made the difficult decision to put him under urgent observation, that is, without his consent.
It is never easy to make this choice, because we feel that we are not taking into account the patient's wishes. But if his life is at stake, it is our duty (and our profession) to do so.
In collaboration with the hospital, we start by treating his legs.
Then, we start a psychiatric follow-up. Little by little, he revealed himself to us and asked for prostheses for his legs.
After these few weeks of hospitalization, we found him a place in a home, where we set up his prosthesis project with him.
It was a long process, but after 5 months, he was finally able to get out of his wheelchair and start his rehabilitation.
It's been 2 weeks now that he has been using his prostheses, see how well he's doing!
(*) We make every effort to respect the privacy of our patients and our professional secrecy. Nevertheless, we want to bear witness to how they have to survive and how we work together to reintegrate them. Therefore, the names of places and people are deliberately omitted or changed and real-life situations are placed in another context. There is no direct link between the photos and the stories above.