In a light-hearted – but important – rant, South African health care worker Kim Alexander has shared with her countrymen just why it is important right now that alcohol is banned. Watch below. An emergency medical practitioner also weighed in yesterday with an emotional message (see further down).
Kim actually recorded her message a couple of days after the alcohol ban was lifted at the start of June. But now hopefully more people will grasp her message. She was bewildered. Just as infection rates were rising, and the Covid-19 peak was approaching, and after months of health workers making sacrifices in their personal and professional lives (forsaking their leave, sending kids to live with grandparents) she couldn’t understand who had been consulted to allow alcohol back on the table.
With a high “level of upset-ness” the Western Cape health worker explained that South Africans just don’t know how to drink.
“Now South Africans, please understand this doesn’t come from a place of judgment,” says Kim, “but you all don’t know how to behave when you have alcohol. And maybe it’s just a cultural thing, just a social thing amongst South Africans – we beat each other, we throw each other with beer bottles, we throw each other into the fire, we fight over that last glass of Castle. It’s a thing that happens. But at a time like this – when we are already sukkeling – to be expected as a health care worker who has sacrificed for the last few months – to deal with all trauma – which might I add is unnecessary trauma; it is self-inflicted stuff that you’ve brought on by misusing a substance and then going on like a malletjie… and filling up our trauma units with your urine, your smelly feet, your smelly breath, your loud mouth, talking in my face and spitting in my face with that Castle that you drank last night… I am trying to stop you from bleeding out, but you kick me in my stomach because you’re so drunk you don’t know where you are; you’ve lost your maniere… I don’t know where you left it. And the government decides to reward us essential workers with that… I don’t know if my colleagues feel the same, but I think that maybe we pulled the short stick on this one. I don’t know who was consulted… but South Africans don’t know how to drink.”
From having to do stitches once a week during lockdown, when hospitals experienced their lowest level of trauma cases ever, she reported that she was now needing to do stitches multiple times a day… on top of admitting other trauma case and taking care of Covid patients.
Kim ends the rant, tongue in cheek, saying: “I need a drink!”
WATCH Kim Alexander: South Africans Just Don’t Know How To Drink
Emergency Medicine Practitioner’s Emotional Message
Yesterday another South African healthcare worker posted an emotional message berating those who are complaining about the alcohol ban in South Africa being reinstated. In a message that has since been removed, the emergency medicine practitioner shared some facts about Saturday night when she worked a 12-hour shift. “In this time, my colleagues and I saw multiple trauma patients. Far too many of them were woman beaten by drunken men, including a 62-year-old. I’m not talking about a smack on the face. Apart from the large bruises on their limbs, one of the women had her shoulder dislocated, another had her skull exposed and a broken leg. Then an elderly lady was rushed in… her lifeless body slouched on a wheelchair. It was too late. She was dead from multiple stab wounds inflicted by her drunk son. We also see patients referred to as ‘community assaults’. Many that day… One such patient arrived later that evening with serious injuries to his head, limbs and abdomen. Guess what! That was the guy that stabbed the elderly lady to death!!
As I was about to leave, a couple frantically ran into the ED with their screaming child. A drunk driver crashed into their house and injured this innocent child!”
There was even more she said, all trauma caused by alcohol. She reminded readers that there are really sick patients with heart attacks, life-threatening complications, on top of Covid patients who she explained are “so sick and need so much critical care. It’s nothing like we’ve seen before.”
She left work feeling “disappointed” with South Africans (made worse by a drunk driver that shot a red light, and crashed into the two cars ahead of her).
“I’m tired of people complaining about restrictions,” she says. It’s not easy for healthcare workers who are making so much sacrifice, not seeing their own families in order to protect and treat South Africans, being exposed to Covid on a daily basis, some falling ill, some dying. It’s upsetting for them to watch young people go out unnecessarily and take the infection home to their families, to elderly people who are more vulnerable.
South Africans were given time, she says, to get educated about Covid and to act responsibly but on the very first day that alcohol was sold again, SA’s hospital beds filled up with alcohol-related injuries and complications.
For healthcare workers, while they sympathise with those whose income depends on alcohol, President Ramaphosa’s announcement to ban alcohol again was cause for celebration. “It makes the biggest different to us on the front line,” she says. “People this is not POLITICS. It’s a PANDEMIC!!! Everyone needs to fight this together.”