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COVID-19 Turns Nurse to Patient in Egypt

COVID-19 Turns Nurse to Patient in Egypt

Wednesday, 3 June, 2020 - 08:30
Egyptian nurse Mohammed Nabil
Cairo - Fatiha al-Dakhakhni

The novel coronavirus has changed the life of Egyptian head nurse Mohammed Nabil, who went from caring for patients to becoming one himself. Nabil was bedridden for 20 days and was soon followed by his wife and kid.

Nabil, a doctorate graduate from the UK, oversees the nurses at the oncology institute of the Cairo University and has two wives. His journey with COVID-19 began at the end of March when a four-year-old girl was admitted to the institute with a high fever.

Suspecting that the child had been infected by the virus, Nabil took all preventative measures possible.

“I suspected that the girl had COVID-19 and feared that I had become infected, so I decided to go to the house with my second wife because my 70-year-old father was staying at my first wife’s house and I didn’t want to risk his health,” Nabil said.

Staying with his second wife and two kids, Nabil implemented social distancing measures and asked his sister to prepare them food and leave it at the doorstep so they wouldn’t need to go out.

Because he was unsure about being infected, Nabil resumed going to work. The next day, one of his colleagues developed a fever. After many failed attempts to bring the fever down, it was decided to take the new patient to a specialty hospital. Nabil transported his friend in his private car.

At the hospital it was confirmed that Nabil’s colleague had contracted the virus.

“It is easy to take preventative measures when dealing with patients we suspect have the virus, but how can we deal with associates that didn’t show any symptoms,” Nabil said.

With Nabil’s coworker being patient zero, data later revealed that 17 oncology institute health workers were infected, and Nabil was one of them.

After the incident, Nabil self-isolated at home where the virus symptoms began to show. Within two days, he was running a high fever.

At the start, Nabil treated the fever with off-the-counter medication and continued to do so for three days after which his body started rejecting the fever medication. He phoned his attending physician who in turn recommended that Nabil heads to one of the fever hospitals in the area.

“I went to the fever hospital with a bag filled with clothes and basic needs in anticipation of being transferred to a quarantine facility if I tested positive for the virus,” Nabil said, noting that he indeed was later moved into a facility where he would spend his days from March 29 until April 18.

Describing his stay at the quarantine center, Nabil said that some days were long and others were short.

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