A Mitchells Plain Covid-19 survivor was given a hero’s welcome when he arrived at his Woodlands home on Wednesday after spending 50 days in hospital.
William Fortuin, 44, was admitted to Mitchells Plain Melomed a day after testing positive for Covid-19 on 27 May.
He was transferred to the Mitchells Plain District Hospital and later to Groote Schuur Hospital, where he was admitted to the ICU and placed on a ventilator after being diagnosed with pneumonia and meningitis.
While in hospital fighting for his life, William lost his mother on 3 June. She died of a stroke.
“It was a huge shock to find out that I was diagnosed with Covid-19 and double pneumonia, my worst fear was coming true. I came home distressed and confused,” recalls William.
“I went to Melomed for oxygen, upon which they referred me directly to Lentegeur Covid-19 ICU with a letter, I was put on oxygen for at least 24 hours.”
William was transferred to Groote Schuur because the oxygen wasn’t helping.
The IT storeman who doesn’t have a wife and children was admitted to ICU.
“The doctor prayed with me as not many who go to ICU return, especially with the infection of Covid-19,” he says.
“I prayed ‘Our Father’ with the doctor and then passed out. I woke up 46 days later all through the Grace of God.”
William was taken off the ventilator on 19 June.
He is able to speak, but is learning how to walk again and urges people to take the virus and the lockdown seriously.
“I want to thank all the hospitals I was at and staff who treated me,” he says.
“I don’t know where I was infected. Please be careful, realise that this pandemic is real, wear masks, follow the rules, don’t get into the situation I found myself in.”
Neighbours stood outside to welcome William home and sang gospel songs while he walked in with support from his brother Bernard Fortuin.
William has been advised to continue doing breathing exercises at home.
Alaric Jacobs, spokesperson for Groote Schuur, confirmed: “William Fortuin was a patient at Groote Schuur Hospital and was discharged on 29 July.”