Miracle: woman walks for week with broken back

2012-05-04 00:00

A CENTURION woman who broke her back during a boat trip at Cape Vidal is fighting for her life in the Unitas Hospital in Pretoria after “miraculously” walking around for a week.

Doctors said she should have been paralysed.

Nola van der Westhuizen (44) and her husband, Conrad, were on holiday at Cape Vidal near St Lucia when they set out for the deep sea in their boat.

The waves were especially high that day. The boat crested a high wave and slammed down on its keel. Van der Westhuizen felt a pain shoot through her back as the boat landed.

Back on shore, she went to a doctor who took one look at her symptoms and wanted to operate immediately. But she decided to return to Centurion and spent the rest of her holiday moving as little as possible on the doctor’s orders.

Van der Westhuizen saw her doctor in Pretoria last Tuesday and he was dumbstruck that she could walk, because she had three broken vertebrae. The medical staff who treated he said that normally a person with such injuries would have been paralysed immediately. That she could move at all while for a week while on holiday was a miracle, they added.

But on Friday, while she was being operated on, she fell into a coma, apparently after a blood clot went through her heart.

Her son, Francois (20), said Van der Westhuizen is on life support and the doctors suspect that she is already brain-dead.

“As far as I understand it, the doctors could not find any brain functions in my mother,” he said.

The couple have another son.

Photo: Facebook

Nola van der Westhuizen with her husband Conrad, is fighting for her life in a deep coma after ‘miraculously’ walking for a week with a broken back.

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