British pilot surprises doctors with speed of recovery

By Le Nga   June 9, 2020 | 01:30 pm GMT+7
British pilot surprises doctors with speed of recovery
A medical worker wears a protective suit at the Cho Ray Hospital in HCMC, February 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

Vietnam’s most critically ill Covid-19 patient astonished doctors by sitting up on his own on Monday.

The 43-year-old British pilot, being treated at Ho Chi Minh City’s Cho Ray Hospital, was able to follow doctors’ orders, press the buttons by his bed, swing his legs, and write on his own.

He only recently regained consciousness after over two months in a coma.

The expert panel of the Health Ministry were completely astounded by the extent of his recovery after watching images sent from Cho Ray Hospital, where he is being treated, Luong Ngoc Khue, deputy head of the treatment sub-committee under the ministry, said.

"For other patients, such small steps of progress are normal. But for this one, it was a huge effort."

The patient was originally set to get a lung transplant, but following his recovery, it is now only a back-up plan, the expert panel said.

On Monday afternoon his fever was down, his lung condition had improved and doctors are trying to help him become less dependent on ventilators.

But his breathing capability is still limited and it would take several weeks for him to completely get off ventilators and recover functional mobility, doctors said.

The patient has responded to antibiotics and his muscle strength is returning, though his legs are still weak. He is also less bloated, and has started eating normally again.

He is still on blood thinners and gets physical therapy twice a day, doctors are increasing his nutrition and monitoring his immune system and infection status.

He was on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) from April 6 to June 3.

The patient has now spent 84 days in treatment.

His insurance company in the U.K. is in touch with Cho Ray Hospital and the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases, where he was previously treated, to pay his hospital bills. The two-month treatment at the previous hospital, where he was cured of the novel coronavirus, is estimated to cost around VND3 billion ($129,370).

All 49 other foreigners with Covid-19 in Vietnam have recovered. The pilot himself is Covid-19 free, but has a lung infection.

Vietnam has had 332 Covid-19 cases so far, but only 16 patients are still under treatment with all the rest recovering.

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