Every staff member at the Brackengate Hospital of Hope is a superhero, says CEO
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Cape Town - “Looking back 18 months, none of us would have believed what lay ahead of us. No one could have foreseen a disease that would bring humanity worldwide to a collective standstill.”
So said Brackengate Hospital of Hope chief executive Maria Brink, reflecting on the facility operating for the past year and providing critical life-saving health care to Covid-19 patients in the city.
The hospital, which celebrated it’s one year anniversary on Monday, has saved more than 3 000 lives in the past year and Brink has thanked her team for their selfless service.
“Even if it was a friend of a friend, an extended family member, someone who worked in your facility, we can sadly all say that we knew someone who died of Covid-19.
“Front-line workers and health management have worked tirelessly since the very beginning to attempt to cope with the devastation caused by Covid. Tirelessly. It means with great effort and energy. It means working overtime. It means working even when you're tired. It means carrying on when you feel like you can't. It means giving of yourself when you have nothing left to give,” Brink said.
A typical day at the facility for a health-care worker starts with entering the changing room, where staff members are equipped with the necessary PPE before entering the wards, which are high-risk areas where patients are treated.
Since July 20 last year, the facility has recorded 4 346 admissions. Of that number, 3 390 people have recovered, while 533 were transferred to tertiary institutions for further care.
Sadly, while health-care workers strive to save every life, the facility recorded 423 deaths. The team has also lost three nursing staff to the pandemic.
“It's for this reason that I can truly say I work with superheroes every day. Stan Lee said: ‘That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero’.
“Every staff member at Brackengate, every person I sit in a meeting with, every front-line or administrative person in the greater Department of Health – each one of them is a superhero. Because they help others, tirelessly,” Brink said.
“Often in spite of their own personal needs. Giving up time with their families. Getting up early, going to bed late. Travelling in difficult circumstances. To make sure the job gets done properly.”
Brink added that the facility’s birthday was a bitter-sweet moment as the team reflects on the lives saved and those who have passed on.
“I know in my heart that each patient that came through this facility experienced care, compassion and love. I am extremely proud of every individual who has played their part in making our patients feel at home for their time here.
“I am overwhelmed each day as we are pushing through the third wave at the team spirit, the selflessness and the camaraderie in the Brackengate staff,” she said.
“To see them working together like a well-oiled machine for the greater good of each patient and even each other; it is sight that touches me deeply. I will forever be grateful for being able to be in a position to be a part of this team,” Brink said.
Western Cape Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, added: “Opening the Brackengate Hospital of Hope played an important role in Western Cape Government Health’s strategy to ensure sufficient capacity to care for Covid-19 patients who needed hospitalisation.
“I want to thank everyone who worked behind the scenes to open and maintain this facility, as well as our health-care workers for their dedication, passion, and commitment in taking care of our Covid-19 patients. I want to urge all residents to help our health-care workers by flattening the curve.
“Please continue to wear your masks, to maintain a distance from others, and to avoid gatherings. We must work together to protect our vulnerable citizens and our health-care system,” Mbombo said.
By Monday at 10am the facility had 263 patients (at 78% capacity). The facility has a bed capacity for 366 patients.
The provincial health department said that as the battle against Covid-19 continues, the public was called on to help save lives and flatten the curve. They also thanked all the health-care heroes at the Hospital of Hope, who have risked their lives to protect and heal others during the Covid-19 pandemic.