EMS paramedic discharged from Tygerberg Hospital after 23 days in ICU
On 11 August 2020, Nolusindiso Dayile, a paramedic from Khayelitsha, was successfully discharged from Tygerberg Hospital after 44 days, of which 23 days were spent in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
After falling ill with shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms, she presented to Tygerberg Hospital's COVID-19 Triage and Testing Centre for testing. Because she had low levels of oxygen she was immediately admitted into a COVID-19 ward to commence treatment on supplemental oxygen and steroids.
Her condition continued to deteriorate over the next five days, and this resulted in her being admitted to the ICU for high flow oxygen therapy. This proved insufficient and she was intubated the next day. She clung to life breathing through a tube attached to a ventilator for the next nine days before her condition stabilised and took a turn for the better and was then able to come off the machine.
A visibly grateful Nolusindiso (43) is doing very well, is completely off oxygen and was excited to be going home this week. “I am very grateful for the excellent care I have received in ICU and in the wards, and for the staff who went the extra mile, and for their encouragement and support.”
Explained Dr Saadiq Moolla, one of the treating doctors, “Working in the COVID-19 Unit these past few months has been challenging, physically as well as emotionally, especially as we went through Cape Town's [epidemiological] peak in June and July. The doctors, nurses and other staff have had to learn a lot about this new condition and adapted very quickly. Staff from other departments who do not usually manage respiratory problems have also joined in and performed admirably outside their comfort zones. Getting patients off ventilators and out of COVID ICU are important milestones in their treatment, but the most rewarding moment when looking after patients like Mrs Dayile is always seeing [how] their faces light up with a broad smile when they find out that they're finally well enough to go home after such a long and difficult stay in hospital.”
Dr Moolla concluded, “Although the case load in the Western Cape has now come down, now is the time to all double down on social distancing measures [and strictly follow the five golden rules of good hygiene] to try to beat this virus.”