Dad’s condition improving

The seriously ill Port Elizabeth father who was transferred to a Johannesburg hospital last week in a suspected swine flu case is progressing well and is expected to be taken off heavy sedation some time this week.

Although Jacques Verster, 31, exhibited symptoms associated with swine flu, he has not been officially diagnosed with the contagious virus.

But doctors have confirmed the presence of a viral infection which falls within the swine flu category of viruses.

Doctors, suspecting a swine flu case, had Verster transported from Port Elizabeth via an emergency medical flight to Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on Thursday last week.

He fell ill about two weeks ago and, after making a brief recovery, fell seriously ill again and was admitted to Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth last Wednesday.

Speaking from Johannesburg yesterday, Verster’s wife, Kirsten, 35, said that doctors were happy with his progress. “He is doing a lot better than the early prognosis he received in Port Elizabeth,” she said.

“The infection is coming under control and they are looking to wake him up some time this week, so he will be coming out of sedation which is a big thing for us,” she said.

Verster had been placed on a machine to help his lungs recover through an extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) technique that uses a machine to take over the work of the lungs by placing oxygen in the blood to give the lungs a rest.

At this stage, the Verster family are healthy and no steps have been taken to isolate them. Kirsten said she was still concerned about her husband’s condition and was also missing the rest of the family back in Port Elizabeth.