Ndumiso (Elvis) Mavimbela with physiotherapist Leana Louw at Tygerberg Hospital.
Picture: Supplied
Ndumiso (Elvis) Mavimbela with physiotherapist Leana Louw at Tygerberg Hospital. Picture: Supplied

Delft man beats Covid-19 after spending seven days on a ventilator

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jun 1, 2020

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Durban - More than a month after he had to be admitted to an intensive-care unit (ICU) and placed on a ventilator, Ndumiso Elvis Mavimbela is well on his way to recovery. 

Mavimbela is one of more than 17 000 people in South Africa who have recovered from Covid-19.

He was the hospital's first patient with severe pneumonia, secondary to Covid-19, who was successfully extubated from invasive ventilation and discharged from the hospital's Covid-19 ICU.

The 54-year-old Delft resident was admitted to Tygerberg Hospital on April 25 after testing positive for Covid-19 at a private facility. He had also just been diagnosed with hypertension. 

On May 5, his condition worsened and he was admitted to the hospital's ICU. He was intubated and put on a ventilator.

Seven days later, Mavimbela was taken off the ventilator and on May 15 he was transferred to another ward in the hospital. 

It was an emotional moment on May 27 when Tygerberg Hospital staff waved goodbye to a patient who inspired them to press on amidst the challenges in this unprecedented time. 

As Mavimbela gingerly rose up from the ward wheelchair and took a few careful steps, he was met with applause and cheering from a crowd of multidisciplinary healthcare workers gathered to honour him for his extraordinary courage and perseverance as his 32-day stay at Tygerberg Hospital came to an end.  

“The contribution of every member of Tygerberg Hospital staff who served Mr Mavimbela, together with his fighting spirit and commitment to recovery, led up to this amazing outcome,” said the hospital's chief physiotherapist, Alison Pieterse.

Mavimbela wept as he left the hospital, waving to staff and doctors. 

Spirits were lifted as staff considered his battle with Covid-19, which took him from days in a Covid-19 ward, then deterioration that required admission to the Covid-19 ICU, where he was intubated and ventilated.  

He was successfully extubated and weaned to non-invasive ventilation and oxygen over the following three days.  

"Our gentle patient gave everything during his rehabilitation. He went from strength to strength over the following 12 days after being discharged from the ICU and could finally be discharged home," Pieterse said. 

On Monday, the Health Ministry announced 34 357 people in SA had tested positive for Covid-19. There were also 705 people who have died from Covid-19-related illnesses. 

Currently, 17 291 have recovered from Covid-19.

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