Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Friday, 16 July 2010

Bad Accident becomes BAD PRESS

Our director got a call last Monday morning at 10ish. He rushed out saying his son was in an accident. He phoned me asking for directions  and saying something about an ambulance. Then he phoned again and I overheard a guy say something about 'cut on his head and a gash'.

It turned out that it was really bad. It was his 4 year old and he fell about 1m down some stairs with the statue falling on top of him.

He had a bad gash on the back of his head - about 15cm long which retracted exposing his skull and bled badly, and also had a big laceration on his face/lip too which also bled profusely. The wife/mom and older brother are quite traumatized from it too- understandably.

He has some small skull fractures, a brain bleed and lost a lot of blood from the wounds.

He was in surgery for about 1.5 hours and had to staple to back of his head back together and had to graft some tissue on the wound on the front of his face. Apparently it is likely to scar quite badly. He didn't  need a blood transfusion in the end, they thought he would at first.

He was in hospital until Friday afternoon. There was concern that he might have sustained brain injuries, because he was not lucid more than 3 days later and was unable to talk or stand or control his bladder etc.

He could not be sedated because of the brain trauma, but is on pain killers, however he was been fighting and trying to rip drip and dressings off his face/head, so they were struggling to control him.

Neurosurgeon had to keep him in high care, since they did not know why he was not coming-to and they were very concerned that the brain bleed was worstening.

He finally 'woke-up' on Friday and went home where he has been recovering. Although some trauma therapy is going to be needed as well as follow-up sessions with plastic surgeon and neuro as he heals.

But then:

The accident was reported in the news - front page of yesterday's Cape Times:

Our boss is livid, because the statue DEFINITELY fell on him. The mom though her son was dead when she saw him with his head pinned under it. There was a photographer there who took photos of it all, and not only that the mom and her friend were unable to lift the statue off, so the photographer came to help them. Yet they are now reporting that it didn't land on him and they have made it sound like the boys shoved it off. The photographer has said that although all the boys were playing around there the others were not even behind it when it happened.

He can't understand why they are going to the press at all, never mind lying and covering their butts so much when he had simply asked them whether they have public liability insurance to assist with their expenses.

It has been so downplayed and mispublisised that he is now taking legal action.

The mom is devastated and in tears over it all again. The neurosurgeon said there are stress fractures on all his skull bone joints from the impact and how his bones mashed against each other.

It annoys me so much how the press mis-represent things so consistently. Also the friend went back last week and said the statue was back up... so I am not sure if it has subsequently actually been taken down.

I suggested that he check if there is CCTV coverage of that area because that would give conclusive proof. Plus he says the statue was not attached to anything.

HOWEVER in my mind even IF the boys were somehow implicated in the cause of the statue toppling, I would think that the gardens and or statue owner would at least express some kind of regret at the accident having occurred and shown some sympathy for the boy (and his family). I mean isn't that the humane thing to do?

Also in shopping centres if an an 80 year old falls down and breaks a hip, that's not really the centre's fault, but that is usually covered. Or if someone fell down the stairs at here at work etc they'd be able to claim for it. That's what the public liability insurance is FOR!

I have seen photos of the child, he was severely injured - black swollen-shut eye, burst lip, gash in the forehead, almost broken nose, scratches, bruises. AND he was scalped the full length of the back of his head, they had to reattach his scalp to his skull with staples. That does not happen from just falling down! Kirstenbosch had to clean the scene since there was a copious amount of blood left on the scene.
He phoned Kirstenbosch yesterday morning to discuss it with them and they have not bothered to return the call yet.  He finally got hold of head of Kirstenbosch today who had no idea about the severity of the accident. Also it transpires and has been admitted that the 'staff who saw the accident' had just seen the children playing and did not actually SEE it happen.

I am frankly appalled. Not what I expected of them AT ALL.


  1. I hate cover-ups! Makes me as mad as hell!

  2. Poor family and so unacceptable to try and cover it up. Most shopping centres has CCTV and if you lay some sort of case you are entitled to see it.