‘Prayer and video calls saw me through fight against Covid-19’: health-care worker

Jaco Versfeld, his wife, Leona, and their son, Jacques, on the day he was discharged from hospital.
Jaco Versfeld, his wife, Leona, and their son, Jacques, on the day he was discharged from hospital.
Image: SUPPLIED

Health-care worker Jaco Versfeld says it's a miracle he made it home to celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary after a long struggle to overcome Covid-19.

Versfeld spent seven weeks in hospital — three of them in a coma on oxygen support.

The ammunition that saw him through the fight with the novel virus included prayer, video calls and a desire to see loved ones again.

The senior administrative clerk at Kraaifontein community health centre in Cape Town experienced Covid-19 symptoms late in January and tested positive, along with his wife Leona.  

“We had Covid-19 at the same time. On Thursday, January 28 ... I told my wife that I was struggling to breathe. I told her I would go to the day hospital to get help and they found that my oxygen levels were too low. I was transferred to Mediclinic Cape Gate where I stayed for seven weeks,” he said.

Versfeld has described his recovery as a “miracle”.

“I remember seeing people coming in alive and then you see a body leaving the Covid-19 ward,” he said in a statement issued by the provincial health department.

“Things like that ... I tried not to think about the worst. I am very privileged to be alive; it is by the grace of God. I was on a ventilator. I was in a coma for about three weeks as well. I only found out about these things after I woke up. My wife told me about it.

“Stuff like this brings tears to your eyes. One just thinks, why am I still here? Why was I chosen to make it? There must be a bigger plan.”

Versfeld said he was looking forward to getting a Covid-19 vaccination.  

“I will take the vaccine because if I get it again it won’t be as severe from what I have read. Taking the vaccine is not only for yourself, but you’re also doing it for others too,” he said.

He emphasised the need to protect each other during the Easter weekend.

“This virus isn’t just about us, or how we want to live. It’s about everyone and our choices matter. We can keep others safe. There will be family gatherings,” he said.

“I encourage all residents to wear masks, sanitise your hands and keep a distance. I think we should actually say, ‘wear mask on behalf of somebody else’. Covid-19 affects all of us. My message is, stay home now so that we can have more visits later or see me less now so that you can see me more later. We need to protect each other from this virus.”

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