Good news for Randfontein toddler who almost drowned

PHOTO: Supplied
PHOTO: Supplied

A 14-month-old girl who nearly drowned a week and a half ago is now breathing on her own.

YOU’s sister magazine Huisgenoot reported last week on the toddler, Jo Anne van der Mescht, who’d fallen into a swimming pool at her family home in Randfontein, near Johannesburg.

Her mother, Lisa Erasmus, found Jo Anne floating in the swimming pool and wasn’t breathing. Her dad, Jhon, did CPR.

When a doctor who lives nearby heard Lisa’s screams, he came to the couple's aid and applied first aid while they waited on the ambulance.  

This week Betsy Els, a family member, told YOU although Jo Anne is still being fed with a tube, she’s been removed from life support and is breathing on her own.

“They’ve done a brain scan. Her brain isn’t swollen but we’ll only know if there’s been any permanent damage once she wakes up,” Betsy says.

“She coughs sometimes and yawns now and again but there’s no awareness on her part yet.

“Her mother tried breast-feeding her but it didn’t work,” she says.

A physiotherapist at the Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg on the East Rand on Monday told Lisa the toddler’s lungs are sounding much better. Betsy says doctors say it could still be weeks before Jo Anne is fully conscious.

Jhon and Lisa are optimistic that everything will turn out well for their little girl.

“We have faith and are praying she’ll be OK, but it’s very hard because we don’t know if there’s any [brain] damage,” Betsy says.

Jo Anne is reacting to stimuli and her parents are hoping for a full recovery.

Betsy says readers’ comments on Huisgenoot’s previous article was very upsetting to Lisa. Several readers harshly criticised both Lisa and Jhon and labelled them irresponsible parents.

“Lisa and Jhon are wonderful parents. Accidents happen and this one happened so fast, within minutes. I told Lisa not to take any notice. Their focus now is Jo Anne.”

Betsy says Jo Anne is receiving excellent care from hospital personnel. A good Samaritan in Boksburg has also offered Lisa and Jhon accommodation while Jo Anne is in hospital.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their help and are asking them to keep us in their prayers.”