Patient's positive journey amidst the Covid-19 pandemic

Ndumiso (Elvis) Mavimbela.jpg
Ndumiso (Elvis) Mavimbela
with physiotherapist
Leana Louw at Tygerberg Hospital.

Mr. Ndumiso (Elvis) Mavimbela (54), from Delft, was admitted to Tygerberg Hospital on 25 April 2020. He tested positive for Covid-19 at a private facility and was recently diagnosed with hypertension. Mr Mavimbela is the first Tygerberg Hospital patient with severe pneumonia, secondary to Covid-19, to be successfully extubated from invasive ventilation and discharged from the Covid-19 ICU. 

On 5 May 2020, his condition deteriorated, and he had to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). As a result, he was intubated and ventilated.  He was extubated on 12 May and transferred to a normal Covid-19 ward on 15 May. 

An emotional atmosphere was visible on the afternoon of 27 May as Tygerberg Hospital staff bid farewell to a patient who inspired them to press on amidst the challenges in this unprecedented time.

As Mr Mavimbela gingerly rose up from the ward wheelchair and took a few careful steps, he was met with the sound of applause and cheering from a crowd of multidisciplinary healthcare workers gathered to honour him for his extraordinary courage and perseverance as his 32-day long 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 Alison Pieterse, chief physiotherapist at the hospital.  

He slowly waved to all and tears flowed… the sum of every high and every low - joy, pride, relief and hope!  Spirits were lifted as staff considered his battle with Covid-19 which took him from 10 days in a Covid-19 ward, then deterioration that required admission to the Covid-19 ICU where he was intubated and ventilated for seven days.  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.