WHEN La Lucia resident, Murray Smith went surfing with his son, he was not expecting to land up in the Intensive Care Unit with a serious neck injury. While the accident dimmed the morning of surf and sun at Snake park beach, there was a silver lining for Smith when staff at the Gateway Busamed Hospital went above and beyond to help him.

“At this difficult time we all faced with, the coronavirus, there are hospital staff who deal with the trauma side of life, who still endure so much yet add such comfort and value to a trauma patient such as myself. They almost go unnoticed with so much emphasis on those dealing with Covid-19 patients – which I do respect,” said Smith.

“Nonku Khumalo in the emergency unit showed such care and attention to detail, to the point of getting me a sandwich and coffee while I was in the emergency room and ensuring my comfort. She epitomised a true nursing, caring professional,” he continued.

Also read:La Lucia free covid-19 testing site closes

“The entire ICU team was amazing, the stand out being Ruby Chetty. When I finally came to my senses after surgery she was there to attend to me. Apparently I had been restless and uncomfortable. She asked me if she could say a prayer for me. That touched me deeply. I will never forget that moment and her prayer and the peace I felt and a sense of knowing I’d eventually be ok,” he added.

Smith said he was admitted into the emergency room just after 9am where he was seen by the Neurosurgeon on call. “There was a scary outcome from the CT and MRI scan. I had broken C1, C6 & 7 with my neck displaced,” he said.

He was placed in a hard collar and required neck fusion at C6 & C7 while C1 would be handled conservatively to get the break healed.

He broke his neck while out in the surf with his son, Dylan on 13 December.

“I rode a left from backline and tried to keep going as close to shore as I could get, working the wave. I did not realise the shallow bank. I am not exactly sure want went wrong – perhaps a double up of a small wave as I got to the shallow section, but it happened fast – I went head first into water,” he said.

Also read: Covid-19: A day in the life of an uMhlanga nurse

Smith described how he saw an “electric blue light” on the impact and heard a crushing sound.

“I lay there calling for my son but he could not see me from backline, so I lay on board and let wave take me to shore. My son was a star as he came out and assisted me back to the car. I was hoping it was just a bad neck strain but knew something more was wrong,” he said.

From the emergency room, he was sent to ICU before having an operation to fuse C6 and C7 back.

Caxton Local Media Covid-19 reporting

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