'I want to knock it into pieces with the hammer', says boy, 6, from his hospital bed after concrete washbasin lands on him

2019-04-30 12:37
Danny Ackerman. (PHOTO: Supplied)

Danny Ackerman. (PHOTO: Supplied)

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A Vaal Triangle couple are waiting on doctors to tell them the fate of their six-year-old son, who was hurt in a freak weekend accident when a heavy concrete washbasin fell on him. 

Danni Ackerman from Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, was transferred from the local Sebokeng Hospital to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto for neurological tests on Monday morning after the incident on Saturday morning.

The washbasin landed on the boy’s face and chest around 09:00 as he was playing near his dad and younger brother in the backyard.

Trauma and heartache

The boy’s father, Danie Ackerman (34), says he wouldn’t want any parent to suffer such trauma and heartache.

"I can’t be negative. It’s just God keeping me calm now, guiding me every moment of the day. It’s hit my wife very hard, especially because she can’t be with our little one now."

The tests will determine the extent of his eldest son’s injuries, Danie says, explaining that Danny’s nose was fractured and extreme swelling are causing him breathing difficulties.

Danie says it was a freak accident that happened very quickly.

"We’d been to my mother-in-law’s house and had just arrived at home when it happened. Danni, his younger brother Logan (3) and I were at the back door. The dog had torn the rubbish bag apart and spilt the refuse. I asked the kids to help me clean up."

His wife, Lorraine (25), was in the house at the time, he said.

"He was swinging on it, his little feet dangling off the ground"

"We’d finished picking up most of it and I was sweeping and saw Danni playing at the basin, less than a metre and a half away from me. We recently moved into the new house. I didn’t think the basin was a danger because I washed clothes in it myself and it was stable. I told Danny to move away from it, he was swinging on it, his little feet dangling off the ground..."

Then, in the blink of an eye, the basin including its supports toppled over, pinning Danny to the ground.

Danie estimates the entire structure that landed on his son could weigh as much as 300kg. 

"I shouted to my wife but when she came outside I’d lifted the basin off him by myself. Yesterday afternoon (Sunday) when I went to fetch clean clothes for us at home my brother-in-law and I weren’t able to lift it. I don’t know where my strength came from."

He rushed the boy to the nearby Johan Heyns Clinic where he was stabilised.

Thereafter he was transferred to Kopanong hospital in Vereeniging, which didn’t have facilities to do advance CT scans to determine the extent of his injuries.

On Sunday evening he was returned to Sebokeng Hospital in Vanderbijlpark for further treatment.

The couple aren’t on medical aid and couldn’t have Danny admitted to a private hospital.

In the meantime, non-profit organisation Child Medi of Bloemfontein has intervened to start fundraising for the boy’s treatment.

"Some people on Facebook are asking: Where were the parents? All I can say to other parents is that they should take a close look at everything around the house – that tree branch with the sharp point, that pretty book shelf, that lose gate motor ...  your child see these as things to play with ... everything can be potential threats. I’ll keep stressing this until long after Danni has recovered. Even if it’s the last thing I do!"

Danie says Danny hasn’t lost consciousness throughout his ordeal and they’re trying to keep him calm and not burden him with anything.

"I’ve only asked him: ‘When you’re better, what should Daddy do with that washbasin? Should we put it in the front garden and plant flowers in it or do you want to knock it to pieces with the hammer. He just replied: ‘I want to break it with the hammer, Daddy.’ Parents shouldn’t think an accident like this can’t happen to them. It can."

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