Tygerberg Hospital patient discharged after 31 days in ICU
Celeste Johnson’s COVID-19 ordeal is a true testament of her resilience, indomitable spirit and her faith which was fully aided by the dedication of a multidisciplinary healthcare team at Tygerberg Hospital (TBH). She overcame a life-threatening COVID-19 pneumoniae which resulted in her been intubated and ventilated for 25 days at the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU).
She presented to Tygerberg Hospital on 8 July 2020 with a two-week history of cough and shortness of breath and was found to be in acute respiratory failure and immediately admitted to ICU to begin high-flow oxygen therapy. Despite this, her condition deteriorated, and she was subsequently intubated and placed on mechanical ventilation which tends to be have a terminal event in the context of COVID-19 pneumonia. Due to her prolonged ventilation a tracheostomy was required, which is a routine procedure whereby an incision is made through the neck area through which the ventilation tube is inserted directly into the airway giving us the ability to provide ventilatory support in a more prolonged and reliable manner. Her ventilatory course was further complicated by a severe ventilation associated pneumoniae requiring intensive intravenous antibiotic therapy.
Every hour of her admission presented with a constant physical, emotional and spiritual challenge. After 25 days she recovered successfully without the need for a ventilator and the tracheostomy was subsequently removed.
Last week, Johnson left the hospital after 44 days standing proud on her own two feet. “I want to thank the doctors and nurses for helping me get better. A special thanks to the physiotherapist, Liezel for her love, patience, kindness, for supporting and in helping me walk again. Thank you once again to everyone who helped me through my COVID-19 experience,” she said.
“It is these stories that invigorate us as medical professionals,” said Dr Dale Peterson, her treating doctor.
Her success story is a testament of the unwavering dedicated public health service of the hospital’s multidisciplinary team and her faith in her religion.