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Cape Town - The 2-year-old boy who had to fight for his life after being brutally tortured at his mother’s home in Beaufort West last Thursday has returned home after a weekend in hospital.
Nadia Ferreira, a spokeswoman for George Hospital, where the boy was taken for emergency surgery after his ordeal, said he was deemed well enough to go home with his mother on Monday afternoon.
The toddler arrived at the hospital with serious multiple injuries.
Southern Cape Saps spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie said the mother saw her son slapped, kicked, have his feet burnt with boiling water, have a cement brick repeatedly stamped into his chest and have his own faeces force-fed to him for eight hours while they were held captive.
With regards to potential long-term damage to the child, Ferreira said as far as his health is concerned, he was stable enough to be discharged, but emotionally, it would be harder to determine.
Either way, “it will take some time to fully recover from the ordeal”, she said.
Cheryl Morilly from Lifeline/Childline Western Cape said the emotional trauma could potentially affect the child for life.
“He ended up in hospital because of something that happened over the weekend, but it’s possible that he could have been suffering for quite some time.”
And even if there was no prior trauma, she said, a traumatic experience like what he went through could affect a child in many different ways. She said he will need trauma counselling and will need to be assessed for behavioural changes and whether he has developed any new fears.
“People must be aware of any changes in the child, particularly behavioural, sleeping, eating patterns and the way he relates to caregivers,” said Morilly.
She said a 2-year-old would be aware of the fact that he had gone through something traumatic and the traumatic memory did not easily go away. Recollections of a traumatic experience can be triggered throughout adulthood from sights, sounds or smells.
“Children thrive and grow from love, hugs and attention, when they have the opposite, it affects their development.”
The suspect, charged with attempted murder, is the mother’s boyfriend who lived with them in their home in Mandela Square.
It was at home that he allegedly kept the mother and child captive for eight hours before the mother escaped and went for help.
The 28-year-old accused’s name has not been released. He appeared in the Beaufort West magistrate’s court on Monday and was remanded in custody.
The matter has been postponed to next Monday in order for him to seek legal representation and for further investigation, according to Pojie.