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Pretoria - A month after house robbers left him for dead, a city professor is thankful for “a second chance at life” and being able to celebrate his birthday on Sunday with family and friends.
Professor Max Braun, from the University of Pretoria’s Groenkloof campus, and his wife, Clare, an employee of the Pretoria News, were attacked by gun-wielding men in their Elardus Park home in the early hours of November 3. The attackers had kicked down a passage door, and shot the couple as they came out of their bedroom.
Clare, who was shot in the shoulder, was in hospital for a few days and has returned to work, but her husband almost didn’t make it. He was shot in the abdomen and lost a lot of blood. Clare remembers a paramedic putting a drip on her as all the emergency staff and doctors were trying to save her husband’s life.
Doctors later established that the bullet hit the professor’s hip. He needed surgery to replace the hip.
Last week, he was transferred from Kloof Hospital to Eugene Marais Hospital to start his rehabilitation.
On Friday, he was given a weekend pass and celebrated turning 61 on Sunday.
Walking with the aid of crutches, he sat down on a couch, and relived the horrific night and his road to recovery.
“I am very pleased to be able to speak to you right now. There were doubts if I would survive.”
Asked how she felt when she heard that her husband might not make it, Clare said it was though her world was coming to an end. “The future looked bleak. I did not know how I would survive without him.”
The professor said he was progressing better than predicted and he had become mobile more quickly than expected. “My body is reacting positively to the rehabilitation, although I find it very strenuous. At the moment I need to improve my balance and to learn to walk without crutches.”
Speaking about that fateful night, the professor said the experience was one he would not wish on anybody.
An optimist, he said it had brought the family closer. “There is always something positive to take out of every situation.”
He was not sure how he survived the attack. “Such a thing shakes our priorities, and [brings] the realisation of being given a second chance. It is like being reborn. It sounds dramatic, but the emotions are true. I was saved by improbable forces. The bullet could have damaged major arteries when it entered from one side to the other, but it did not,” he said.
A blood donor, he required 12 units of blood for his surgeries. “I have donated about 18 units of blood in my life, but taking 12 units, I feel bad,” he said jokingly. He was humbled by the support the family had received from friends, colleagues, and his students.