Vanessa Joubert was discharged from Groote Schuur Hospital just days before her birthday so she could spend it with her loved ones.


Cape Town, South Africa (10 September 2021) – We love all the posts shared by Heroes of Groote Schuur on Facebook but this has to be the most heartwarming one we have shared since the pandemic hit South Africa last year.

The fantastic page, which highlights all the roleplayers at the Groote Schuur Hospital, including patients, took time yesterday to wish a patient a very happy birthday. Vanessa fought a harrowing battle against Covid-19 with the help of the medical staff at the hospital.

Vanessa spent a total of 52 days in the hospital, 42 of which were in the ICU. She was recently discharged and just in time to spend her birthday with her loved ones.

“I am so happy that I can spend my birthday at home. The doctors in the hospital promised me that they will ensure I will be ready to go home to spend my birthday at home with family. I was ecstatic that I was discharged on the 1st September as a Covid-19 survivor,” she said.

Vanessa’s husband shared how his experience was different from his wife’s and how her battle has inspired him to do more with his own life.

“I had Covid-19 as well but only had mild symptoms. Vanessa was not as lucky, she got very sick at home and I took her to a Melomed hospital,” explains her husband Mark Joubert. “After being there for three days she requested to be transferred to Groote Schuur. It’s not every day that someone asks to move from a private hospital to a public hospital, but she heard about the good work GSH is doing with Covid patients and she wanted to move.”

One of Vanessa’s doctors, Professor Richard van Zyl-Smit, shared just how harrowing her battle was and how happy he is to see her recovery go so well.

“Vanessa had severe Covid infection and was ventilated for close on 40 days. As with many of our Covid patients it was touch and go at many stages of her stay in ICU. We were never sure that she was going to make it. It took several weeks before we allowed ourselves to get excited about her potentially being discharged from the ICU. It is always amazing to finally get to meet the actual person who you have looked after for so long when they finally are out of a coma, off the ventilator and able to talk,” says Professor Richard van Zyl-Smit, who was one of the doctors who looked after Vanessa in the ICU.

The entire ordeal has been traumatic for Vanessa but she is using her experience to help others with their vaccination hesitations.

“Being in ICU is not easy, especially being on the ventilator all this time. I have lost so much weight and I still feel so tired and my muscles feel so weak. It’s traumatic being awake in ICU and having the memories of everything that I have gone through. One of the memories was when I thought I wasn’t going to make it, my body was just so weak,” says 46-year-old Vanessa.

She encourages everyone to take the vaccination, “The vaccination will save your life. Don’t mess around take it and save your life. You don’t want to end up in ICU on a ventilator like I did.”

“Before we had Covid-19 I did not want to take the vaccine,” says Mark. “To see how Vanessa suffered convinced me to take the vaccine. My message is simple, take the vaccine, you don’t want to go through what Vanessa went through.”

Sources: Heroes of Groote Schuur
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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