Elderly couple proves love can triumph over adversity

By Chi Le   August 19, 2021 | 07:52 pm PT
Suffering damage to her lungs, a 71-year-old woman in Vietnam’s capital called on doctors to first place her critically ill husband on ventilation ahead of herself.

Her husband, 72, was transferred to the emergency department (ER) of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi alongside his wife for treatment.

The couple from Lien Ninh Commune, Thanh Tri District, tested positive for Covid-19 on July 26.

Dr Le Van Thieu, from the hospital's ER department, shared the couple's story Monday, saying: "I respect their affection. It made me think about my own family and many other seriously ill patients.."

On Aug. 6, the couple's condition swiftly deteriorated.

"Please let my husband use the ventilator. I don't need it. I'm fine. I don't feel short of breath," the female patient stressed, even though her own condition was dramatically worse.

Pointing to the corner of the room where the ventilators are located, the doctor affirmed the hospital had no shortage of equipment.

"She thought the hospital is overloaded and patients who need ventilators have to wait a while for their turn. So she wanted to give him hers," Thieu explained.

Dr Le Van Thieu cares for the 71-year-old elderly woman on August 14, 2021. Photo courtesy of Thieu

Dr Le Van Thieu attends to the 71-year-old patient on Aug. 14, 2021. Photo courtesy of Thieu

A few days later, the husband's condition first grew worse before starting to improve. Enquiring about his wife, the doctor explained she had overcome the most dangerous stage and was recovering, much to his relief.

"What do you want to say to your wife?" a nurse asked him.

Unable to speak yet, he borrowed a piece of paper and wrote: "Stay strong honey," adding that whoever made it through this crisis would have to carry the family on their shoulders.

"I saw tears falling down her eyes even though she had not yet regained consciousness," said Thieu.

"Everyone in the room was touched by their bond."

Thieu said his department receives and treats severe Covid-19 patients over a long period. When patients improve, even if only marginally, the doctors and nurses also feel better.

Since the fourth coronavirus wave hit Vietnam in late April, the total infection tally is 308,559 cases.

"As long as a patient is doing well, we are happy. When a patient is discharged, we consider it a great success," Thieu said.

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