Pretoria teen makes miraculous recovery after 15m fall

2016-02-24 22:35


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Pretoria – The speedy recovery of Pretoria teenager, Carmen Botha, who sustained critical injuries after a 15 metre fall is nothing short of a miracle, her mother said.

The Grade 8 pupil's life was left hanging by a thread after a zip line snapped during a school team building session at the Hartebeespoort Dam last month, leaving her body shattered after hitting rough terrain.

Carmen's mother, Gerna, got a call from the school telling her about the accident.

She spoke to a paramedic over the phone who told her that her daughter was "in a really bad shape".

Carmen was airlifted from the scene to a Johannesburg hospital.

“While waiting for the helicopter to arrive at Netcare Milpark Hospital’s level 1 trauma unit, I did not want to face up to the possibilities. I was terrified and unsure of what life was going to throw at us.

"In that moment there is a pool of fear that grips your heart, but there was no hysteria, we were just deeply wounded with sadness,” Gerna said.

Low survival probability

Medics inside the chopper fought hard to keep Carmen alive.

“As the helicopter landed at the hospital, I could see that they were busy resuscitating Carmen. We were not allowed to see her and the hospital had arranged for a trauma counsellor to be on hand to guide us through dealing with our daughter’s condition,” Gerna recalled.

Carmen arrived in hospital with a ruptured spleen, bruised lungs caused by severe trauma to the chest, a liver laceration, a fracture of the spine, internal bleeding and broken bones. Her survival probability was calculated at a very low 16%.

The young girl underwent numerous surgeries over a 12-hour period and doctors finally managed to stop her bleeding.

It's been a little over a month since her traumatic ordeal but Carmen is back to her old self again and is talking and cracking jokes with her family.

A miracle

"If you look at the medical facts and the chances of survival you will know that this is a miracle," Gerna said.

While the teenager still has no feeling in her legs, she remains confident that she will recover. She was expected to start with her rehabilitation treatment in two weeks time. Her treatment was expected to take about six months.

"Without faith we would not have come through this. We are privileged that we have experienced an amazing miracle: the right paramedics were dispatched to the scene and they made all the right calls, including that Carmen needed to be airlifted," said Gerna.

"She was taken to the right hospital with the right specialists there to treat her."

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