US ambassador praises SA health workers after 10 days in ICU with Covid-19
The US ambassador to SA, Lana Marks, spent 10 days in intensive care while recovering from Covid-19, the US embassy has revealed.
In a statement on Monday, Marks details how she started to experience Covid-19 symptoms the day after Christmas and ended up in ICU two days later.
The ambassador says she, alongside a family member, started to experience fever, chills, a sore throat and fatigue on December 26. They isolated at home as residence staff were also on holiday. Things escalated as she began to experience shortness of breath and extreme weakness.
Marks said as her symptoms worsened and upon the advice of the US embassy medical team, she was admitted to hospital for supplemental oxygen and therapeutic treatment.
The embassy declined to say in which city the ambassador was hospitalised.
“Shortly after admission on December 28 I was moved to the ICU, where I remained for 10 days before spending three more days in the Covid-19 unit,” she said.
Marks said she was discharged from hospital late last week, and continues to receive care at home.
“My condition is improving and the doctors are confident that I will eventually make a full recovery,” said Marks, who described Covid-19 as a tremendously serious and unpredictable illness, and the most physically debilitating experience of her life.
She sang the praises of the hospital staff who cared for her, saying: “I will forever be grateful for the excellent level of care that I received from the South African doctors and nurses who tended to me in the hospital.
“I am just one of tens of thousands of Covid-19 patients that SA’s health-care workers and hospitals have treated with the utmost professionalism, putting their own lives at risk to practise their calling.
“Having seen them on the front lines of this battle for nearly a year, and now having had my own life in their hands, I will always remember their heroism and dedication and all that they sacrifice and risk as they fight this dangerous illness on behalf of their countrymen,” she said.
Marks said she was sharing her story to help destigmatise discussions around Covid-19.
“Only through sharing information about the virus can we understand how to prevent its spread and treat it.”
She encouraged people to wash their hands, maintain physical distance, wear masks and abide by the rules of the lockdown, saying the regulations were in place to save lives and to keep hospitals available for those who truly need them.
“I am fortunate to have had a bed and a medical team available for me in my time of need. We must all do our utmost to give that same opportunity to those who need it.”