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Vietnam’s corruption fighter Nguyen Ba Thanh dies at 62

Friday, February 13, 2015, 13:16 GMT+7
Vietnam’s corruption fighter Nguyen Ba Thanh dies at 62
Nguyen Ba Thanh, head of the Vietnamese Party Central Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs, is seen in this file photo.

The head of the Vietnamese Party Central Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs, Nguyen Ba Thanh, died at 1:10 pm Friday at 62 after over six months battling myelodysplastic syndrome.

>> Vietnam to treat corruption fighter Nguyen Ba Thanh with modern and traditional medicines

Thanh had been carried to his house on Cach Mang Thang Tam Street in Cam Le District, Da Nang City in an ambulance of Da Nang Hospital at 12:35 pm. Hundreds of people have flocked to Thanh’s house and police have been deployed to the area to maintain order.  Thanh came back to Vietnam on January 9 for being treated by both western and traditional Vietnamese medicines after months of treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome in the U.S. On Thursday afternoon, Prof. Pham Gia Khai, chairman of the medical council of the Central Commission of Health Care for Senior Officials, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that Thanh was put on a respirator. His health condition was very bad and doctors from the commission performed the second blood purification on him to eliminate toxins from his blood, Prof. Khai said. After undergoing the first blood purification on February 10, Thanh’s condition was improved slightly before worsening again.        Thanh was in a coma and suffering severe liver failure and his health outlook was very bad, Prof. Khai said, adding that doctors would try their best to give him intensive care to prolong his life after Tet (Lunar New Year), which falls on February 19.

Thanh suffered not only from myelodysplastic syndrome but also from some other diseases including liver cirrhosis, the professor noted. Myelodysplastic syndrome is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells and there are abnormal (blast) cells in the blood and/or bone marrow, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. During Thanh’s treatment, doctors detected an abdominal dropsy (ascites) and extracted over 1.2 liters of fluid from his abdomen. Last night some members of the commission flew from Hanoi to Da Nang to take part in a consultation on Thanh’s condition, said Nguyen Quoc Trieu, chief of the commission.

When his condition was detected in May 2014, he was first treated at Hanoi’s Central Military Hospital 108 before being sent to Singapore in June and July for further treatment, said Dr. Tran Huy Dung, deputy head of the commission. In mid-August, Thanh was transferred from Singapore to a private hospital in the U.S., where he underwent three rounds of chemotherapy before entering a recovery period pending a bone marrow transplant, Dr. Dung said. Before Thanh returned to Vietnam on January 9, there was an Internet-spread rumor that his myelodysplastic syndrome had been caused by poisoning, but the health care commission refuted the rumor.

Thanh, who was born in Da Nang’s Hoa Vang District in 1953, was the secretary of the Da Nang City Party Committee from 2003 to late 2012, when he came to Hanoi to take office as the head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs.

During the 1996-2003 period, he was the first chairman of the city after Da Nang was separated from the former Quang Nam-Da Nang province. Thanh was also deputy head of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption, led by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

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