Covid-19 patient dances out of hospital after nearly three months

Zukiswa Maqana leaves Groote Schuur Hospital to scenes of jubilation. Picture: Supplied

Zukiswa Maqana leaves Groote Schuur Hospital to scenes of jubilation. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 22, 2020

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Cape Town – Scenes of joy and jubilation filled the halls of Groote Schuur Hospital as one of the Covid-19 patients hospitalised the longest in the province, Zukiswa Maqana, was discharged after almost three months.

In hospital for 77 days, the 48-year-old Samora Machel mother received a resounding welcome from a crowd of hospital staff who applauded as she danced her way out of the facility on Monday.

Earlier this month, the department also discharged one of the province’s oldest Covid-19 survivors, Katherine Dorothy Newman, 93, fondly known as Aunty Dorothy, or maNewman.

Maqana was admitted to the Mitchells Plain District Hospital on May 4 with severe Covid-19-related pneumonia and quickly transferred to Groote Schuur the next day as she required intensive care.

She was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and was intubated and on a ventilator there for 51 days of her 54-day ICU stay.

The hospital’s general surgeon, Dr Henri Pickard, said Maqana had a rocky journey, experiencing complications and picking up other infections along the way.

“Eventually, she left ICU on June 28 and arrived in ward F5. She could hardly talk or walk on arrival in the ward, but slowly grew stronger as she was rehabilitated by physiotherapy and nursing.

“The medical care she received transformed her into the radiant patient who danced out of the hospital on July 20. One of the infections she developed required her to complete a four-week intravenous antibiotic course,” he said.

The mother of a 29-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, who works in Somerset West, said her mother had to come from the Eastern Cape when she got sick to help look after the house and her daughter.

Having also lost her husband in 2017, it was special for hospital staff to celebrate with the children that their mother had recovered well, Maqana said, thanking those who looked after her on her journey to recovery.

“Everybody was so nice to me and the doctors were wonderful,” she said.

“I am so happy with the treatment I got at Groote Schuur. I didn’t know what day it was when I entered the hospital and I couldn’t move for weeks. But the hospital staff helped me learn to walk again and they were all so happy for me when I could go home,” Maqana said.

Meanwhile Newman’s son, William, said his mother was born in Claremont and uprooted to Lansdowne because of the Group Areas Act.

“As a divorced mother she has been a pillar of strength raising the family and during trying times provided the best love, care and education for us to build successful careers.”

For the past nine years, Newman has been a resident at Huis Nuweland Old Age Home.

“Huis Nuweland was very proactive. They put in place the highest levels of control to limit the impact to their much-loved residents and valued staff,” William said.

But on June 2, Huis Nuweland staff alerted the family to Newman’s coughing and on the doctor’s advice, conducted a Covid-19 test. The results came back positive.

Newman was admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital. Her condition improved and she was transferred to the CTICC Hospital of Hope.

“This has been a very worrying time for the family. The fact that we could not see her while she was hospitalised was very sad and trying.

“However, in the context of the Covid-19 protocols we had to accept this, knowing that it was the best for everyone. We had to remain strong and trust all the doctors, health-care personnel and home carers to provide their professional service and show the love on our behalf, which I know they did,” William said.

“I would like to express the family’s sincere thanks and gratitude for the care provided. Our thoughts also go out to the families of those who have not been as fortunate.”

Department head Dr Keith Cloete said. “We know our staff work under challenging circumstances during this pandemic, but it is heart-warming episodes such as this, and all the other wonderful stories we have been privileged to experience, which does so much to continue to inspire our staff to be on the front line in taking care of our patients.”

Cape Times

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covid 19