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A ‘message of hope’ as octogenarian recovers from Covid-19

Pic by Monique Benatar

The daughter of a local 89-year old woman who has made a full recovery from Covid-19 hopes that her mother will be seen as a “message of hope” as Gibraltar battles against the spread of the virus.

Julie Benatar was dismissed this weekend from St Bernard’s Hospital after spending 17 days in the Covid-19 isolation ward.

Her daughter, Monique Benatar, published a post on her Facebook page thanking the GHA’s doctors, nurses and administrative staff as well as the ambulance service.

“Let my 89-year old mum be an example to Gibraltar of the attention and high medical care provided by our professionals and let’s all pull together and let’s confine ourselves to our homes in order to not cross infect others,” Ms Benatar said.

She explained that her mother has underlying health conditions and has had pneumonia in the past, and despite her best efforts to stay at home and isolate herself, she contracted the virus.

But after making a full recovery and testing negative for coronavirus twice, Ms Benatar said she wanted to share her mother’s experience to “give a message of hope”, especially as there is so much fear surrounding the virus.

“Everything we are hearing is so scary, it is scary for everyone but all we hear is that it is more dangerous for our elderly, but my mother is being described as an example by her doctors,” Ms Benatar said.

“I don’t want to give false hope, but my mother did survive this.”

“I thought that if she caught the virus she would never survive so we made sure she stopped going out but she ended up getting it in her own house.”

“Thank god she has made a full recovery, this has really been a true miracle.”

Ms Benatar praised the “amazing” service at St Bernard’s Hospital for the professional manner in which healthcare staff looked after her mother.

“The biggest problem was that my mother was kept in total isolation so I was not able to take her anything, and she didn’t even know what day it was or what time it was,” she said.

“It was very difficult for her to be in a room on her own for the past 17 days, and anyone who went in had to go in with the full gear to protect themselves.”

“The doctors were very good and forthcoming with all information, and helpful at a time when we didn’t know what was going on.”

Ms Benatar expressed her relief at her mother’s recovery and said that although she is now presumed to be immune to further Covid-19 infections, the family will still take steps in order to protect Mrs Benatar.

“What I really want to emphasise is that we all have to stay at home to stop the spread,” Ms Benatar said, reiterating the advice from Gibraltar’s public health officials.

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