British pilot longs for home after miraculous Covid-19 recovery

By Le Nga   June 19, 2020 | 07:03 pm PT
British pilot longs for home after miraculous Covid-19 recovery
"Patient 91" shakes hands with HCMC Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong at Cho Ray Hospital on June 17, 2020. Photo courtesy of Cho Ray Hospital.
Comatose for months, Vietnam's most critical Covid-19 patient has regained 85 percent of his lung functions and is eager to return to Scotland.

The 43-year-old pilot who worked for national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines "wishes to be discharged soon to go home," said doctors at the Cho Ray Hospital where he is being treated for lung infection after recovering from Covid-19 on May 20.

A specialists’ panel from the Health Ministry said Friday that "Patient 91" has been breathing on his own without support from a ventilator for seven days.

He is fully conscious and communicates with doctors normally. As strength gradually returns to his limbs, he is now able to turn around on his own bed and sit up by himself. He is also learning to stand up on his own, doctors said

A CT scan has shown his lung is now 85 percent functional, compared to 20-30 percent a month ago.

Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Ministry of Health's department of diagnosis and treatment, said Wednesday that at this stage, a lung transplant was no longer necessary.

In May, the health ministry said it had decided on a lung transplant for the British pilot as his condition at the time was very critical.

Doctors treating him say it will take more time before he can recover movement.

The British man has told doctors he wishes to be discharged from the hospital soon to return home in Scotland though he had no family member left.

He has only a close friend in his hometown, who last week gave him a scarf with the word "Motherwell," the name of a football team, woven on it.

The specialists’ panel said that an evaluation meeting will be held next week to decide on his release.

On Wednesday, Ho Chi Minh City Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong called on the patient at the Cho Ray Hospital and praised health workers treating him. He said they were "outstanding soldiers" in the Covid-19 battle.

He has now been in treatment for three months, the longest hospitalization of any Covid-19 patient in Vietnam.

Vietnam has reported 349 infection cases and no deaths, with 326 having recovered. The country has gone over two months without community transmission of the novel coronavirus, prompting the government to negotiate with China, South Korea and Japan to resume select international flights.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected 213 countries and territories around the world with more than 462,500 deaths reported so far.

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