Doctors have said that it is too risky to operate on the Indian-origin teen who received serious spinal injuries when her hair got tangled in a go-kart ride at an entertainment centre in South Africa.
Kristen Govender, 15, has been in the ICU since December 28, 2022 with a spinal fracture, spinal cord damage. She also had a torn scalp, which the surgeons have managed to stitch, local media reported.
According to doctors, Kristen has a blood clot in her spinal column, and “it’s too risky to operate as she is too young”, the Daily News reported quoting her father Vernon Govender as saying.
“We just have to give her some time, with the medication and some sort of therapy we remain optimistic,” doctors at the Durban hospital told Vernon.
They added that Kristen has no mobility from her waist down, and would not be able to start the school year in the first term.
“She is now responsive and talking but still has no movement from her waist down. She’s still in a serious situation, we’re not out of the woods yet,” Vernon told Daily News.
Veronon told the South African daily that since the incident he had received only one phone call from the go-kart establishment to find out how his daughter was.
According to reports, Kristen had told the go-kart employee on the day of the incident that a piece of the vehicle has come loose during her first lap of the course.The employee removed the piece — the cover shielding the axle — and asked her to carry on with racing.
In the second lap, Kristen’s metre-long hair, which was tied in a ponytail, got tangled in the axle.
“Her hair from the front of her head was pulled out, and it tore her scalp,” Veronon was quoted as saying in media reports.
He added that the establishment followed no safety precautions and no first aid was provided.
Vernon said his 13 year-old son took off his shirt and gave it to a relative who wrapped it around Kristen’s head to try to stop the bleeding, the report said.
“It’s really scary that they run the establishment and they don’t even know what’s going on. There’s been no further calls from the go-karting place or the mall and it’s been six days since the incident,” Vernon told Daily News.
“The excuse from the go-karting place is that they have a paramedic who leaves at 6 p.m. and this happened around 5.45 p.m.,” the father rued, adding that he was considering police action.
“We sympathise with the family. But we have never had an incident to this extent in the eight years that I have taken over the track. All our clients watch a safety briefing video, which is very clear on how to ride the kart and how to behave on the track, including tying up their hair,” Steven Pool, the owner of Action Karting Gateway, told Weekly Post.