Don’t delay emergency care!

Posted on 2 December 2021

As we enter the fourth wave of the pandemic, Mediclinic hospitals and Emergency Centres remain equipped to deal with various complications – whether they’re COVID-19-related or not.

When Nivesh Sharma* finished an energetic game of golf recently, he was intent on joining up with friends for an evening meal. Although he’d been experiencing chest pain during his round, he was fit, had no cardiac history and thought he could push through. “Fortunately, he decided to stop at the hospital on his way to his social gathering, just to be safe,” says Dr Daniel Fiandeiro, an emergency medicine specialist at Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg.

Here, at the Level 2-accredited Trauma Centre, Nivesh went into cardiac arrest while awaiting triage. “We immediately performed CPR, shocked him and got his pulse back,” Dr Fiandeiro explains. “Within an hour, he’d been sedated and we performed an angio-catheterisation.” This is a procedure that allows a cardiologist to get direct information about the blood pressures and patterns of blood flow within your heart. An X- ray ‘movie’ is taken while special fluid (called contrast) that’s visible on X-ray is injected into a cardiac chamber or major blood vessel.

Results showed Nivesh had suffered a full blockage in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. “The LAD is a very important blood vessel,” says Dr Fiandeiro. “It supplies a significant amount of blood flow to the heart muscle –  and could be fatal when it is jeopardised. Fortunately, the cardiologist was able to aspirate a large clot within an hour and 15 minutes of his arrival at the Emergency Centre.”

As Riani Retief, Clinical Quality Specialist: ICU & EC for Mediclinic Southern Africa says, if you – or a loved one – have pain, it’s vital to consult a doctor. Don’t avoid a consultation because of pandemic-related concerns. “People who are chronically or acutely ill run the risk of their condition worsening due to a lack of medical care, or complications arising if a procedure is delayed. Mediclinic is committed to assisting all patients, regardless of whether they have COVID-19 or not.”

Dr Fiandeiro explains that all Mediclinic Emergency Centres (ECs) have adjusted their patient flow to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission while remaining patient-centric. Once you’ve completed the screening at the entrance of the EC, you’ll be directed towards the appropriate section for treatment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided to staff members according to the risk and level of care being delivered in each of these treatment areas.


Special measures in place to prevent transmission of COVID-19

  • Strict access control
  • Universal masking
  • Screening for COVID-19 symptoms on entry into the hospital (and daily for admitted patients)
  • Dedicated areas of the Emergency Centre and hospital for COVID-19 and non-COVID cases.


All Mediclinic staff are trained in infection prevention and control, including precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They’re also equipped with the required PPE and have implemented additional cleaning rounds. All areas are further cleaned thoroughly in between patients.

“If Nivesh hadn’t come in when he did, he would’ve died on the scene,” says Dr Fiandeiro. “Lots of patients are unnecessarily worried about COVID-19 and are avoiding hospitals. We’re seeing many patients coming in later than they should. Don’t delay emergency treatment – your life could be in danger.”


*Name has been changed.



Published in Emergency

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