Covid-19 patient expected the worst but has been ‘treated like a queen’ at Durban state facility

20 September 2021 - 11:25
Durban Covid-19 survivor Khabo Sithole took to social media to share her experience at Clairwood Hospital.
Durban Covid-19 survivor Khabo Sithole took to social media to share her experience at Clairwood Hospital.
Image: via Facebook

Sponge baths, warm towels, caring doctors and nurses and first-class infrastructure.

That’s what Durban mother Khabo Sithole has received since she was hospitalised at Clairwood Hospital, a state facility in Durban, after falling severely ill with Covid-19.

Sithole said in a widely liked Facebook post she was expecting “minimal levels of care and service” at a government hospital. 

Instead, Sithole — who was vaccinated two weeks before contracting the virus — was “treated like a queen” despite being unable to afford hospital care after she was retrenched from her job in human resources.

“I remember when I first heard Clairwood Hospital was going to be used for the treatment of Covid-19 patients, I thought they were going to put rows of beds in a big hall, and give us nurses to look after us. I thought it would be a skimmed, linear facility, with minimal levels of care and service,” she said.

“This whole time I’ve been here, I’m being fed three meals a day with protein, fibre and carbs, and given lots of bottled water to drink throughout the day.

“My isolation room, with its own bathroom, has been kept clean by kind and professional cleaners. My bed has been refreshed once a day. They even kept my cellphone charged at all times so I can talk to my 10 year-old daughter Zoey when feeling fit to do so.

“I’ve been on 24-hour ICU monitors for the first 10 days, being cared for by all sorts of speciality nurses the entire time.

“I’ve been seen by a minimum of two doctors per day, and given updates on my condition. I’ve also been given a plan going forward so I know what next to expect. I’ve been given cocktails of medication both intravenously and orally. The doctors even taught me how to sleep. I’ve been taught how to breathe by the physiotherapists.

“When things were tough and I couldn’t help myself, the nurses gave me sponge baths and would help wipe me with warm damp towels.”

Sithole said her stay at the hospital has been an eye-opener.

“I grew up [relying] on public health facilities. When I was blessed to be able to afford it, I used private health facilities.

“This facility I’ve been in for the past two weeks does not say 'public health facility' — not in the slightest. The level of these operations are of private health facilities. I wonder if I’ve just tasted NHI [National Health Insurance].

“The nurses and doctors were friendly and engaging, and didn’t have any airs about them. They were kind.

“I found a decent and respectable place at this hospital. Even the isolation ward I’m in looks like it’s fit to accommodate someone who will part with a huge cheque upon their discharge.

“When you get received in the way I have, you get a sense people care.”

Sithole, who has been in isolation at the hospital for 14 days, is expected to stay another 10 days before she is discharged.

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Nomagugu Simelane said Sithole’s experience “is a drop in the ocean because most of our workforce are hardworking and dedicated people who wake up every day with the sole intention of helping those who are in need.

“We are very proud of the staff and management of Clairwood Hospital, as well as the infrastructure development team that delivered this world-class facility, and many others, in record time.”