A young Port Elizabeth father is fighting for his life after he was flown to Johannesburg yesterday with suspected swine flu.
Jacques Verster, 31 – the father of a month-old baby daughter – was accompanied by a special medical team on the flight and has been placed on a machine to help his lungs recover.
He fell ill 12 days ago, according to his wife Kirsten.
“As we knew he had the flu, we knew he couldn’t take antibiotics or anything,” she said. “He looked a lot better on Wednesday [last week] and went to work.”
But by the following day, he was in the intensive care unit at Netcare Greenacres Hospital.
“He got very ill, very fast,” Kirsten said.
She said to give his lungs a chance to rest and recover, doctors wanted to put him on extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation – or ECMO – a technique that uses a machine to take over the work of the lungs by placing oxygen in the blood to give the lungs a complete rest.
Kirsten said that as the machine was available at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, a team had flown to Port Elizabeth yesterday morning to stabilise her husband and then flown back to Gauteng with him.
She said so far doctors could confirm that Jacques had Influenza A. One of the flu viruses that falls in this particular category is swine flu or the H1N1 virus.