Kogilambal Sandra Reddy. Picture: Supplied
Kogilambal Sandra Reddy. Picture: Supplied

Family of Durban nurse who died of Covid-19 says she died a heroine

By Nadia Khan Time of article published Jan 8, 2021

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Durban - Enrolled nurse and single mother Kogilambal Sandra Reddy was determined to better her future.

Last November, Reddy, 45, of Bayview, Chatsworth, wrote an exam to qualify as a registered nurse but she died on Christmas Eve – before she got her results.

She worked in the intensive care unit at St Augustine’s Hospital since October.

Brandon Pillay, a community activist and family friend, said Reddy experienced flu-like symptoms on December 5.

“She messaged me that she was unwell and she then went for a Covid test. Her results came back positive on December 7,” said Pillay.

He said Reddy and her two daughters self-isolated in their rooms despite the girls not showing symptoms of the virus.

“Due to her line of work, she was cautious about hygiene. She wore a mask even at home, sanitised, and as soon as she arrived home from work, she changed into clean clothing.”

He said she was having difficulty breathing on December 12 and called the paramedics to monitor her oxygen saturation levels.

“The levels were fine but the following day, her breathing became strained. She was then admitted to hospital.

“On December 16, she messaged me and asked that our pastor call and pray for her. I tried to comfort her and told her to pray and not to panic.”

She messaged Pillay again on December 19, requesting that the pastor pray for her – and he did.

“On December 23, her family was called to the hospital.

“She underwent dialysis and she was transferred to the hospital’s ICU ward where she was placed on a ventilator. We continued to pray for her but she died on December 24.”

He said Reddy was selfless and compassionate.

“Soon after the first outbreak, she helped care for an elderly resident and others in the community.”

Reddy’s sister, Cheryl Naidoo, said she (Reddy) started her nursing career at St Aidan’s Hospital in 2000.

“She first completed a nursing assistant’s course and her enrolled nurse training through Chatsmed Hospital. “Sandra thereafter completed her ICU training at eThekwini Hospital and Heart Centre.

“This was however not enough for her. She wanted to become a registered nurse. She wrote her final examination in November and her results are due this month. I have no doubt that she excelled.”

Naidoo said Reddy had a vocation for the job, was an astute learner and was skilled theoretically and practically.

“She was also a team player and one of those who you wanted on your team. Her death is a loss to the nursing community. Sandra made great friendships and everyone who worked alongside her can vouch for her professional skills.

“I know that my sister would have gone on to achieve greater success in her nursing career. My sister died a heroine and her light will burn brightly forever.”

Reddy’s funeral was held at her home and the cremation followed at the Clare Estate Crematorium on December 27.

She had three children, Geran, 26, Shanal, 15, and Shiloh, 9. Her daughters are living with Naidoo.

A memorial garden honouring frontline workers who succumbed to the virus was opened at St Augustine’s Hospital last week.

The garden pays homage to Reddy, as well as Thembisile Mathe, a registered nurse, and Asha Munilall, a credit controller at the hospital.

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