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Ho Chi Minh City tourist firm wants to help with repatriation of British COVID-19 patient

Monday, June 22, 2020, 17:21 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City tourist firm wants to help with repatriation of British COVID-19 patient
A doctor supervises as a British man, Vietnam’s novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient No. 91, brushes his teeth during his treatment at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, June 17, 2020. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

A Ho Chi Minh City-based tourist company has expressed its intention to provide financial assistance for the repatriation of a British man considered Vietnam’s most critically ill novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient.

Saigontourist Group is willing to cooperate with relevant agencies to fulfill the Briton's wish, which is returning to his hometown in Scotland after his hospital discharge, according to Pham Huy Binh, chairman of the firm’s management board.

The company will pay for all expenses needed for his repatriation, Binh elaborated.

The patient would be well enough for a hospital discharge soon, believed to help the man avoid risks of hospital-acquired infections due to his weak immune system and lung damage, according to Dr. Nguyen Tri Thuc, director of Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, where he is being treated.

He could fly business class and be accompanied by a health worker, Thuc said.

The cost of his repatriation should be covered by his insurance company, his employer, or donations from benefactors, the director added.

The 43-year-old man, a Vietnam Airlines pilot, was confirmed as the country’s COVID-19 patient No. 91 following his diagnosis in mid-March.

He was admitted to the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases on March 18 with damaged lungs.

His conditions deteriorated shortly after that, putting him in a coma and his life in jeopardy a few times.

Doctors once thought only a lung transplant would save him from death.

But medication and other medical care gradually improved his health in the following weeks.

The Scotsman was transferred to the intensive care unit at Cho Ray Hospital on May 2, still comatose and with severely damaged lungs, after being cleared of the coronavirus following his treatment at the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

On June 3, doctors gave the green light to disconnect the patient from ECMO life support he had been on for nearly 60 days.

He was taken off his ventilator on June 13, and stopped taking antibiotics used to treat other bacterial infections on June 15.

A CT scan showed that 90 percent of his lung capacity had recovered as of last week.

The patient was transferred from the intensive care ward to the physical rehabilitation unit of Cho Ray Hospital on Sunday.

Doctors are now focused on helping the patient fully restore his physical function.

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