Thursday, 21 October 2004

Stab victim writes matric exam in hospital

Gill Gifford

October 21 2004 at 08:05AM

A teenage girl who fought off her mother's attacker with her bare hands and was stabbed in the process has written her first matric exam from her hospital bed.

Krystal Theron, 18, of Dersley Park in Springs, was pulling out of the driveway at her home on Monday night while her mother Vivianne was closing the gate.

They noticed a smartly dressed young man walking across the veld towards them.

"My mom warned me to be careful of the pedestrian," learner driver Krystal said.

The man approached her mother and asked for a job.

Theron said she had no work to offer him. He then lunged at her and grabbed for her handbag, which she threw over the wall as he pulled out a knife.

Krystal, who hadn't seen the knife, jumped out of the car and threw her shoes at the man.

"That obviously did nothing, so I started screaming and jumped on him, punching him anywhere I could reach," she said.

"He turned around and it felt like he punched me back, but he'd actually stabbed me. I thought he'd just hit me until I saw the blood."

'I'm glad it's over, and I think I did okay' Krystal's father, hearing the commotion, ran to help but could not unlock the security gate. He fired a shot into the air, which prompted the attacker to run off.

Theron bundled her injured daughter into the car and drove to their doctor, who told her she needed to be hospitalised immediately as the blade had punctured a lung.

Reluctant to wait for an ambulance, Theron took Krystal - a provincial hockey and tennis player and top athlete - to the Far East Rand Hospital, where they spent more than an hour waiting for medical help.

"There were people all over, lying on the floor and everything. I was pressing on my wound because it was bubbling, and nobody came to help us," recalled Krystal.

"It felt like I had knives in my back and it was really scary because I didn't know if I was okay.

A neighbour, Mel Boucher, came to help and insisted they go to a private hospital, even though Theron had been told that she would have to pay R50 000 upfront before Krystal could be admitted.

"Mel took over and she negotiated things for us. Eventually we got Krystal to the N17 private hospital and they were very good to us," Theron said.

Krystal had a drain put into her back to remove the air pockets which had been filling her injured lung, causing it to collapse. She was admitted to the surgical ward and heavily sedated.

Her English teacher arrived that afternoon to give her some last-minute coaching for her exam, but the drugged teenager was too drowsy to concentrate.

Her school sent over a video recorder so that she could spend Tuesday night watching Macbeth on video - her final preparation for her English literature finals.

On Wednesday morning Krystal was not given any painkillers. An invigilator was sent to sit with her and she wrote her three-hour exam at a desk set up in her ward.

"I'm glad it's over, and I think I did okay," she said afterwards.

She was due to write her economics final paper on Thursday, again in hospital.

Krystal is hoping to be discharged soon and will write another four exams next week.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on October 21, 2004


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