Making news

COVID-19: British pilot to be discharged from hospital

Vietnam’s most critically ill COVID-19 patient, a British pilot with Vietnam Airlines named Stephen Cameron, is expected to be discharged from hospital and return to his homeland in the UK soon, doctors at Cho Ray Hospital have said.

Doctors of Cho Ray Hospital visit the patient (Photo: VNA)

“He now can leave the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for rehabilitation and return to his homeland as soon as necessary procedures that make it possible for him to leave are completed,” said Assoc Prof Pham Thi Ngoc Thao, deputy director of the HCM City-based hospital.

“His lung capacity has reached 85 percent, and the lung infection is completely clear," Thao said at a meeting on June 22.

The Scotsman's heart, liver and kidney functions have fully recovered, she said, adding he can communicate well with medical workers and no longer needs assistance from a ventilator to breathe.

The 43-year-old is taking part in a rehabilitation regimen to regain the strength and recovery of his hands. His muscle strength in his feet is good. He can write, eat and use his mobile phone without assistance.

Cameron, the 91st COVID-19 patient in Vietnam, spent 65 days undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in HCM City after he tested positive for the coronavirus on March 18.

On May 22, he was transferred to Cho Ray Hospital for further treatment after testing negative for COVID-19, and at the time was expected to undergo a lung transplant as the disease had reduced his lung capacity to 10 percent.

He was put on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine and a ventilator, and given many kinds of drugs, Thao said.

“He at some point seemed close to death but was saved with appropriate medical interventions,” she added.

He regained consciousness on May 26 and his lung capacity improved gradually, making it possible for him to survive without a lung transplant which had a high risk of death.

On June 3, he was disconnected to the ECMO machine, and on June 12 the ventilator and now he remains fully conscious.

At an online medicine consultation held on June 22 with the participation of experts who have been involved in the treatment for more than three months, Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son said the patient will need to undergo at least another two to three weeks of physical therapy to be able to board a plane safely for home.

He said the patient can only leave for home if he could still receive continued care during the flight home and when the Vietnamese side can contact and communicate with an appropriate medical facility in Scotland that can receive the patient and provide him with the best care.

Vietnamese traditional medicine was also involved in the care of the patient, experts revealed at the teleconference./.