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In photo: Van Bern Springer a Covid-19 Survivor speaks out.


SINCE the first confirmed covid19 case on March 12, some in society have questioned the hospitality afforded to patients either in hospital or at quarantine facilities. Two patients, who have gone through the recovery process in its entirety, from initial testing to being discharged, have decided to speak out on the issue.

Van Bern Springer, 50, is a maxi taxi driver who first tested positive on April 1. Contacted by phone he said “I was very weak and had a little cough and decided to get tested. My first test was in Arima (Hospital) and that came back positive. I was given three tests since then at the Couva Hospital. The first came back positive, the second negative and the third result has not come back as yet. Depending on how that one comes back, I may go home on Monday,” he said last Friday.

Springer said, “People come out and bad talk this (hospital treatment), that is a lie. I’m in here about a month now and they come to you at least five or six times for the day and ask if you are ok and if you have eaten. They come three o’ clock in the morning and test your vitals, They come at ten in the morning and then at seven in the night to test your vitals.”

Nurses at the facility were also praised by Springer. “I was supposed to be dead from a heart attack or a stroke. I am diabetic and when I came in here, my sugar reading was 320.” A blood sugar reading of 140 or less is considered normal.

“The nurses have it hard, they have on this suit and they are bringing your breakfast, lunch and dinner. I see them sweating and they could hardly breathe. The doctors come now and then but when you ask them questions, they answer. But the nurses boy, they really doing a good job,” Springer said. He said he has not been overseas recently.

The other patient who only gave his initials, C.R, said he is 51 and like Springer, is also a maxi taxi driver. He tested positive for covid19 on March 26, at Arima Hospital. He was then transferred to the Caura Hospital, where he spent an hour before being transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, where he stayed for four days.

He was then transferred to the Couva Hospital, where he spent most of the time recovering, before finally being sent to the The Home of Football, which is a dedicated step-down facility for recoving, ambulatory patients. He was discharged on May 1st, 2020.

“I was going to let my wife do this, but I aint lying. I was in HDU (High Dependency Unit. I saw and heard a man bawling and crying and have on pampers. He was defecating on himself and the nurses would come with a smile and clean up the mess and change his clothes.

“We are a nation that likes to bad talk and cry down. People can say what they want, but I was there, I lived through it and I saw how the nurses and doctors treated with us. The nurses, they really tried. I watch nurses differently now. Sometimes I wondered if a nurse was standing right outside my door, because as soon as you make a whimper, they would come to check on you.”

C.R said he was amazed when the weeping, pampes-wearing man recovered and left while he was still at the facility. “I was on an oxygen tank up until recently. If they check your oxygen levels and it drops, they put you back on it. When you have to go back on oxygen, because of a symptom you’re experiencing, when you come back off, you will start another seven days of being observed.

“So if someone gets another symptom like a cough or fever while at hospital, they would be cared for and then a fresh seven days of monitoring starts for them. So that’s why some people would take longer to leave. But those nurses boy (pauses) they are champions.”

Springer was discharged last Friday after his two tests, within 24 hours, came back negative. It was claimed in a recent online video by a former male patient, that the step-down facility was without water on April 23. In response to this, Springer said, “The step-down facility always had water. It was just that one day that it didn’t have. I was in there before him and it always had. I was told that a pump was being repaired on the day when there was no water.”


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