Orthopaedic Surgeons were sent to fight Covid-19 in ICU


Late 2019, COVID-19 announced its arrival on global news channels. Seemingly, it was contained in China for some time before news reports started declaring its arrival in Europe mid-January 2020. By March, South Africans were glued to their devices and TV screens. Not only were South African’s watching footage of exhausted European medical practitioners and crowded ICU wards, but also makeshift hospitals opening in stadiums and conference venues. South Africa knew it was coming, just not when or to what degree.


On the 5th of March 2020, the first South African COVID-19 case was tested in Hilton. The Department of Health responded to patient zero’s positive case with the opening of Greys Hospital newly appointed COVID-19 quarantine ward. The South African government started taking swift action to ensure across the country hospitals were equipped.

Undoubtedly when a pandemic hits, you are unaware of the magnitude at which it barges into and disrupts all life as you know it. Many general practitioners and medical specialists were seeing a lack of patients in their consulting rooms. Virtual consultations slowly took over the face-to-face consult. Furthermore, elective surgery came to an abrupt halt. Hence, with such a disruption and an immense need for help in ICU, all specialists came together to assist.


Here is a personal account of two Practice PLUS medical specialists, Dr Rian Smit and Dr James McAllister. Together they run Midlands Orthopaedics at Hilton Life Hospital. With 22 years of combined experience in Orthopaedic Surgery, they never thought they would be fighting an invisible enemy. Here is their account: Why is there an Orthopod in my ICU?

Orthopaedic Surgeons sent to fight COVID-19 in ICU
Dr Rian Smit and Dr James McAllister

In addition, we hear from Dr Grant Laing, an intensivist at Hilton Life Hospital who explains what the core focus of an Intensivist is. Get to know your Specialists: What does an Intensivist do?

Do you want to hear what other medical specialists do? Yes, then follow our Practice PLUS blog for more ‘Get to know your Specialists’.

Image: Hilton Life Hospital


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