Comatose British Covid-19 patient given antibiotic combination

By Le Cam   May 25, 2020 | 07:06 am PT
Comatose British Covid-19 patient given antibiotic combination
Doctors wear protective gears at Cho Ray Hospital in HCMC, February 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Doctors gave Vietnam's most critical Covid-19 patient a combination of three drugs Monday to eliminate a bacterium identified to have infected his lungs.

Doctor Nguyen Tri Thuc, director of the Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, said "Patient 91" has acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), his kidneys have been damaged and his lungs infected with the burkholderia cepacia bacteria. Samples taken from his sputum and bronchial lavage both show this bacteria, the doctor noted.

The patient, a 43-year-old Vietnam Airlines pilot, has been given a combination of antibiotics - ceftazidime N1, cotrim N12 and meropenem N3 - to eliminate the bacteria.

He has been in a coma for around two months. The patient has no fever now. He is still on sedatives but doctors have stopped giving him muscle relaxants. His blood pressure is stable, but he remains on a ventilator and a life support machine called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). The machine pumps blood out of the body and to a heart-lung machine that removes carbon dioxide and sends oxygen-filled blood back.

"The patient has neither coughed nor showed any limb movement," Thuc said.

He is also immunocompromised, with reduced blood lymphocytes, which protect the body from infections caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi.

On Saturday, dialysis treatment was stopped for the patient. 

The Vietnam Airlines pilot was the first case in the cluster of infections in Saigon associated with Buddha Bar & Grill. A few days after he was diagnosed, 18 others were also found infected.

"Patient 91" had suffered earlier from the cytokine storm syndrome, which happened when his immune system overreacted to the coronavirus attacking the body, releasing too many cytokines, damaging his organs.

He is currently Vietnam’s most critical Covid-19 patient. After 65 days of treatment at the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases, he tested negative for Covid-19 seven consecutive times in 15 days, whereupon he was transferred last Friday to the Cho Ray Hospital, where his treatment continues.

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