Health worker pleads with South Africans to take Covid-19 seriously as ICUs fill up

A nurse in Durban says you don’t want to be in a Covid-19 ICU as a patient nor do you want your loved ones to be there.
A nurse in Durban says you don’t want to be in a Covid-19 ICU as a patient nor do you want your loved ones to be there.
Image: 123RF/Yuriy Klochan

A Durban health worker based at an ICU has taken to Facebook to tell how overwhelmed, shocked and afraid she and her colleagues are by Covid-19.

The worker, who did not reveal which ICU she is based at, said in her post this week: “Leave the statistics out for now. I am making an observation based on my experiences.

“What my colleagues and I have seen in the past week is beyond words. We are overwhelmed, afraid and shocked. I cannot go into the details of my ICU but what I can say is that you don’t want to be there as a patient nor do you want your loved ones to be there.

“The public needs to be educated about the seriousness of the situation and should refrain from taking it so lightly.

“Nurses and doctors are working more than they have ever had to work in their careers. I am talking about nurses with diabetes, asthma, hypertension. They are risking their lives for everyone despite being high risk themselves."

She is currently semi-isolating after exposure to a high-risk patient on Tuesday night.

In her post, she said nurses were working with three to five ventilated patients at a time.

“Covid-19 is not a joke. It is not something we should take lightly. The easing of the lockdown does not mean we should be relaxed.

“I am astounded as to how many people are walking around with no masks and if they do have a mask they are not wearing it properly. Social gatherings is not a necessity. Shopping for a handbag is not a necessity (can't believe i just said that?!).

“Just remember that we have not reached our peak and our ICU beds are reaching full capacity in just a short period of time.

“Who knows when we will start to see a downward trend but for now our main concern is that we may not have enough ventilators for everyone and we may be forced to make protocols that would restrict certain patients from using up a ventilator.

“Meaning we may have to prioritise according to age and other factors. Please don't let you or your loved one be another number in our ICU.”

She was concerned that the public was unaware of the real impact of Covid-19 therefore she posted her thoughts on social media.

“So please please encourage your elderly loved ones to stay at home and continue with isolation. Anyone with comorbid conditions such a as HIV, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiac and even obese patients are at risk.”

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