Pretoria teen dies after setback: ‘It’s a painful loss’

Giovanni Hendricks. (Photo: Supplied)
Giovanni Hendricks. (Photo: Supplied)

For more than four months they spent evenings at his bedside in hospital; week after week hopeful of his recovery. But on Monday morning 05:30 the heartrending news arrived: their son has passed away.

Giovanni Hendricks (18) has been in Kalafong Hospital west of Pretora since March this year. He’d been diagnosed earlier with Guillain-Barre syndrome, which attacks the central nervous system.

The 18-year-old nearly died at the end of June when his heart stopped for more than an hour. A lack of oxygen left him severely brain damaged afterwards

Before sunrise today the hospital called to say Giovanni had lost the battle, his heartbroken dad, Giani (47), told YOU from the hospital.

“Our child died at 05:15 in hospital. Doctors had great difficulty getting him to breathe – we suspect he suffocated,” Giani says.

“But we can’t say it’s definitely the case. We haven’t spoken to the doctor yet, and a post mortem report must still be done.”

He and his wife, Elize (39), are devastated, Giani says. Just a week ago the couple were still hopeful their son would recover fully.

On 3 July they told YOU: “We don’t think God would’ve brought our son back to life after he hadn’t registered a heartbeat for an hour, and then just come and take him again. God is more powerful than all these things.”

Giovanni Hendricks

But today they have to resign themselves to the fact that it was God’s will and that Giovanni is no longer with them, Giani says.

“We’re trying to be okay . . . but it’s incredibly sad. It’s such a painful loss. He fought for so long; we so wanted to believe that he’ll be okay. It’s not easy.”

Giovanni Hendricks

The couple will make an announcement about funeral arrangements later in the week.

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