Ormond Neuroscience delivers services that concern the human brain, including diagnostic services, neuropsychological assessment and treatment. We are based at the Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital, in Auckland Park, Johannesburg where we see both inpatients and outpatients. Ormond Neuroscience is the intellectual home of Digby Ormond-Brown, neuropsychologist and neuroscientist. Ormond Neuroscience comprises a team of professionals who work in a coordinated manner, each team member bringing their unique skills into play. We believe in the importance of multidisciplinary diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation and consequently we are embedded in a network of healthcare professionals who specialise in different aspects of brain function. If we are unable to provide the treatment or diagnosis required by the patient, we are able to refer to the appropriate people.
Digby Ormond-Brown is the principal neuropsychologist at the Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital, where he has been based since 1994. He has been immersed in the neurosciences for his entire career. As a student, he managed to wrangle a place for himself in a postgraduate neuroanatomy course taught by the illustrious Prof Phillip Tobias, which made a lasting impression and taught him about the relevance of evolution to brain function.
Having obtained a joint honours degree in psychology and philosophy, he underwent training in neuropsychology at the University of the Witwatersrand with Prof Michael Saling, completing a thesis entitled Attentional Dysfunction in Autism: Psychophysiological and Neurochemical Perspectives. After graduating cum laude, he obtained a position in UNISA’s Health Psychology Unit, which was led by Prof Victor Nell. Since Digby happens to have mathematical skills, he was initially deployed as a statistician on a large-scale project into the epidemiology of traumatic brain injury in Johannesburg.
That work soon led to additional roles as a clinician assessing patients in the traumatic brain injury epidemiology project. The Health Psychology Unit had offices in the National Centre for Occupational Health, which led to cooperative projects in neurotoxicology, and he gained experience in patients exposed to organic solvents, organophosphate pesticides, mercury, and manganese. Having gained a solid training in clinical neuropsychological assessment, he was then given further work at the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinic at Johannesburg Academic Hospital. During that time period, he had also worked as a tutor at the Neuropsychology Clinic at Hillbrow Hospital, and ended up running the clinic for a few years, providing training not only to clinical psychologists, but also to speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists.
He was offered a post as Director of the then Headway Head Injury and Stroke Clinic, which he accepted. This turned out to be a catastrophe since the clinic had been defrauded by two staff members who left shortly before Digby joined. The clinic was effectively bankrupt and Digby had the unenviable task of retrenching staff members and eventually closing down the clinic.
Fortunately, the clinic’s competition at that time, the Barney Hurwitz Medical Institute, stepped into the breach and offered Digby rooms at the Institute, where he was able to set up practice. When Netcare purchased the Barney Hurwitz Medical Institute, it was renamed as the Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital.
During his tenure at the hospital he participated in multiple drug trials that led to the development of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor drugs, such as Aricept and Reminyl, that are widely used nowadays in the management of dementia. He began doing medicolegal work, became an expert witness, and has given testimony in countless matters in the High Court. For a while he saw pilots on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority, assessing their fitness to fly, but got fed up with that work when they encountered difficulty making payments. In 2002 he was appointed as consultant neuropsychologist to the Centre for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics where he was deeply involved in the assessment and management of concussion. His private practice at the Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital has morphed into Ormond Neuroscience.