‘Best hospital experience’ – COVID survivor says Ocean View facility like a ‘five-star hotel’

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By Kurt Campbell

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A Guyanese mother of six, who survived COVID-19 and was nursed back to health over a period of 10 days at the Infectious Diseases (COVID) Hospital at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown is grateful for the care she received at the hands of healthcare professionals there.

Deprived of the physical comfort of family members and close friends, the woman who spoke with the News Room on Thursday said it was the best hospital experience she has ever had and in the process likened the facility to a five-star hotel.

“All the rumours are untrue,” the 57-year-old woman from a community on the East Bank of Demerara said.

Because of the stigma and discrimination surrounding people who survive COVID-19, the woman did not want her name or photograph published and so, for the purposes of this article we will refer to her as ‘Grace.’

‘Grace’ speaks with the News Room’s Kurt Campbell about her experience at the ‘COVID Hospital’ (Photo: News Room/September 30, 2021)

Grace said she tested positive for COVID-19 on September 9, 2021, but noted that she began to feel unwell three days prior. With mild respiratory distress and not knowing that it was the early onset of the coronavirus, she visited a private hospital where she expended time and financial resources.

“I didn’t know it was COVID. I thought it was so many other things, just not COVID. But it was really hard and I decided to get tested,” Grace related.

Because of her need for oxygen, Grace could not await the results of the test she took at the Herstelling, East Bank Demerara testing site and would visit the Georgetown Public Hospital the very day, September 9.

There, she was admitted immediately after a second test confirmed her positive status.

She was transferred to the transition ward of Liliendaal hospital the next morning but Grace said she was fearful.

“When they told me I had to go to the Ocean View hospital I was sad. All the rumours I heard is that when you go, you don’t come out. I did not want to go.

“Turns out, it was the best decision but at the time I thought I was not going to come back home.”

Recounting her experience at the hospital, Grace said she was surprised to find out that the rumours were absolutely false.

“The nurses helped me, everything I couldn’t do for myself, they did. They told me what was wrong and explained the medication they were giving to me; that happened every day of my stay.

“t’s not a nice thing to say because it is a hospital but I would say it’s the five-star hospital.

”The food was second to none. They catered for each person’s individual health complications. My food, the salt was limited because I’m hypertensive. They had other people who were diabetic and they had food for them too.”

Grace said the food caters for each person’s individual health complications

Grace does not believe she received any special treatment or that her experience is an isolated one.

“I don’t know anyone at the hospital. I saw everyone get the same care. There was nothing about me to single me out for treatment in that manner. Everyone in the ward with me got the same treatment,” she said.

Grace complimented the staff for the cleanliness of the place, saying the floor was so clean you could eat off of it. She recalled that during her first few days there, she could not do anything for herself and the doctors and nurses ensured she showered every day and even took time to wash her underwear.

“I can’t begin to tell people don’t be afraid. Don’t try to treat yourself at home because you are fearful of going to the hospital.

“Go, it is the best hospital experience I’ve ever had,” she said.

Grace said she could hear the attendants rolling dead people out of the facility on a daily basis.

Discharged for close to two weeks now, Grace is still fearful to go out and interact with people even as she continues with her recovery.

An aerial view of the National Infectious Diseases Hospital at Liliendaal, Georgetown [Photo: DPI]
She is not vaccinated because of a medical condition and, in fact, she fell ill the same week she received clearance from her doctor to be vaccinated.

“I have no qualms about taking it, I prefer to be vaccinated than to go through what I went through… I don’t want to go through that again,” she asserted.

According to data released by the Ministry of health, almost 100 persons have been hospitalised there each day in September but the majority is nursed back to health.

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