Girl mauled by lions faces high medical bills

Courtney Sparrow, the Zimbabwean girl treated in South Africa after being mauled by lions, has been released from hospital. But her family now faces large medical bills.

Courtney Sparrow, the Zimbabwean girl treated in South Africa after being mauled by lions, has been released from hospital. But her family now faces large medical bills.

Sparrow was attacked by two lions which guarded her parents' property in Masvingo from war veterans on September 16.

A hospital in Harare felt it could not deal with her injuries properly so she was airlifted to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg the next day.

Sparrow underwent a 16-hour operation to her oesophagus, the dura surrounding her brain, a piece of her skull which was bitten off, her eye and bites on her face and body. She was treated by a range of specialists. She is still in Johannesburg being monitored and although thin and run down, she is building up her strength.

"The issue the family now faces is how to pay for expenses owing to Netcare, Milpark Hospital, Medical Air Rescue Services and the various doctors," a family spokesman said yesterday.

She needs further surgery to rebuild a part of her face as well as cosmetic surgery.

"We did not have medical insurance," her father Ron said, "because our Zimbabwean medical aid has gone into liquidation and we didn't have international cover."

People have been donating money towards the expenses, including BSi Steel, which provided R100000.

An audited trust fund has been made available for her to raise money for expenses and for businesses to make tax-deductible donations.

"Businesses and members of the public are asked to help the Sparrow family with contributions so that this will aid Courtney to put her life back together," a statement said.

The trust, called Neil's Comfort Fund, holds an account with Standard Bank, account number 252-682-580, branch number 057525 and swift code SBZAZAJJ, with the reference BSI. - Sapa

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