PARENTS Richard and Jaci Mun-Gavin say doctors have been amazed by how well their daughter Kiara is recovering at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital after she suffered a brain injury in a car crash in December. Zanele Zulu African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - Specialists are very happy with the progress 13-year-old Kiara Mun-Gavin is making after suffering a severe brain injury in a serious accident last month.

Jaci Mun-Gavin was speaking to the Mercury at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, where Kiara is being treated after she was injured on Christmas Eve when a motorbike smashed through the passenger side window of the vehicle she was travelling in and directly impacted her head.

Jaci, who is a senior pastor at Anthem Church in Durban North along with her husband Richard, said Kiara’s neurosurgeon, speech therapist, occupational therapist and physiotherapist are all surprised at how well she is doing.

“Her brain was severely swollen for 70 hours and her initial injury became a global brain injury, that’s why they are amazed,” she said.

The part of the brain that was injured should affect personality, the right side of her body, speech and the ability to have critical thinking.

“Yet all of these are intact,” said Jaci. “She’s writing with her weaker hand, she seems to have full use of the right side of her body, her speech is coming back and she has no signs of stroke symptoms.” When The Mercury visited yesterday, Kiara was smiling while spending time with her parents, but got tired quickly.

Jaci said Kiara still has part of her skull in her abdomen, where it was placed for safekeeping until doctors feel she is ready to have it reattached.

“She’s been awake now for a week and every day has been a huge improvement. She had her stitches taken out from her skull and abdomen today (yesterday) and she started doing the times table,” said Jaci.

She said they were slowly introducing Kiara to what had happened to her.

“Kiara is calm, not angry. She has surrendered and has faith in God,” Jaci said.

She said her family have enough faith in whatever God has planned for their lives.

“On the other hand, we also have complete hope that if a full recovery is in His plan, then it’s well within His ability to pull it off,” she said.

The Mun-Gavins have received a tremendous amount of support since the accident. Jaci said for the first eight days, the churches in Durban North did not leave the hospital.

“There were people there 24/7 for the first eight days until Kiara was out of the woods - not only at the hospital, but people have been having prayer meetings in their homes.”

Kiara will have to have a third surgery, according to Jaci, to replace her skull, which doctors will only consider after her sixth week of recovery.

“There are two schools of thought as to whether it’s best to leave her skull off for a few months and wait for her to get stronger or whether it’s best to undergo full open brain surgery, which is high risk,” she said.

The Mercury