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Vietnam hospital proposes flying British COVID-19 patient home

Saturday, June 20, 2020, 14:37 GMT+7
Vietnam hospital proposes flying British COVID-19 patient home
Two health workers help a British man who is Vietnam’s novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient No. 91 during a physical therapy exercise at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, June 17, 2020. Photo: Le Nguyen / Tuoi Tre

A British novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient who has been hospitalized for over three months in Ho Chi Minh City, at one point being entirely reliant on life support, might be well enough to board a flight home soon, the hospital where he is treated has proposed.

The 43-year-old man from Scotland is now breathing room air without supplemental oxygen for most of the time and has been eager to go home, according to the latest update by the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Saturday morning.

According to its treatment sub-committee, the patient has been off the ventilator for the seventh consecutive day.

He has completely weaned off oxygen support during the day and only needed it at night.

The Briton is fully conscious and capable of coherent verbal communication.

His full recovery is only a matter of time, the committee said.

Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, where the Briton is treated, said that the man has been able to stand while holding on to support bars during physical therapy exercises.

A recent CT scan showed that 85 percent of his lungs have recovered.

Doctors have completely cut the patient off intravenous feeding as he can now eat normally.

The patient has expressed his eagerness to return to his home in Scotland for a rest before returning work.

A medical consultation meeting is scheduled for next week to review the patient’s conditions before he can be released from the hospital.

Dr. Nguyen Tri Thuc, director of Cho Ray Hospital, said the patient might be well enough for a hospital discharge, which will also help the man avoid risks of hospital-acquired infections due to his weak immune system and lung damages.

The Scotsman can fly business-class and be accompanied by a health worker, Thus suggested.

The cost of his repatriation can be paid for by his insurance company, his employer, or donations from benefactors, the director added.

The 43-year-old man, who was identified as Vietnam’s patient No. 91 of COVID-19 following his diagnosis in mid-March, is a Vietnam Airlines pilot.

He took the job at the Vietnamese national flag carrier in December last year.

He was initially admitted to the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases and transferred to Cho Ray on May 22 after having been cleared of the virus.

On May 8, it was announced that only ten percent of his lungs were functional and that a lung transplant might be his only viable path toward recovery.

However, he has made a remarkable recovery over the past weeks, with doctors now saying he will soon be well enough to be discharged without the need for a lung transplant.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health reported on Saturday morning that the national tally of COVID-19 stood at 349.

Among them, 326 patients have made a recovery while only 23 remained in treatment, including four having tested negative twice.

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