Teen still in ICU after water slide fall

Jerry Builder, Heru manager and Morris de Beer with Carmen Botha.  Photo:  Hartbeespoort Emergency Rescue Unit.
Jerry Builder, Heru manager and Morris de Beer with Carmen Botha. Photo: Hartbeespoort Emergency Rescue Unit.

Gopolang Chawane

Carmen Botha, the teen who survived at 15-metre fall off a water slide in Hartbeespoort in January is responding well to treatment.

The 13-year-old Centurion resident was on a school trip, and four weeks later, she is still in intensive care but has not shown any signs of brain damage.

A representative from the Hartbeespoort emergency rescue unit (Heru) shared the heroic ordeal with Rekord after the teenager’s parents gave consent.

Heru, which responded to the emergency call, said its medic Morries de Beer was first to attend to Botha.

She had a cracked skull, a broken left collarbone, and fractured ribs which had pierced her lung forcing it to collapse.

She also had bleeding and swelling under the skin around her neck, a ruptured spleen, internal bleeding behind her intestines with no feeling in her lower body.

Heru said it was De Beer’s quick thinking to airlift Botha to a hospital in Johannesburg that probably saved her life.

Heru said while taking the teen to the helicopter, her heart had stopped and she had to be resuscitated. When the team transporting her arrived at a Johannesburg hospital, her mother was already there waiting in a state of panic.

Botha was immediately placed under trauma care where she underwent numerous procedures in an attempt to save her life.

She was intubated as she could not breath on her own and was connected to a machine to help her blood receive oxygen.

“As Botha’s kidneys did not work, she was connected to a dialysis machine and later underwent spinal surgery to repair injuries to her back.”

Heru said the teen was still on a dialysis machine and according to the neurosurgeon who performed the spinal surgery, she was expected to be able to walk again.

“Her recovery is something miraculous that the team who treated her were still struggling to understand and explain it medically,” said the Heru.

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