UK ambassador thanks Saigon hospital for treating British pilot

By Thu Anh   June 27, 2020 | 08:03 pm GMT+7
UK ambassador thanks Saigon hospital for treating British pilot
Doctor Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, Director of the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases (left) and U.K. Ambassador Gareth Ward to Vietnam (right) during the ambassador's hospital visit, June 26, 2020. Photo courtesy of the hospital.

Ambassador Gareth Ward thanked medics during his visit to HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases for diligently treating “Patient 91” over 63 days.

Ward said Friday he was extremely confident in the expertise and ethics of medical staff at the hospital, one of the frontline forces in Vietnam’s fight against Covid-19.

The ambassador and Consul General Ian Gibbons also visited the hospital testing department, which has performed over 15,000 PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests to identify the ribonucleic acid (RNA) of pathogens that help determine if a person is Covid-19 positive. During peak periods, department staff performed nearly 1,000 tests per day.

Ambassador Ward said he hoped both Vietnam and the U.K. would work more closely together to continue providing better health care for both British and Vietnamese citizens.

The 43-year-old British pilot, Vietnam’s most critically ill Covid-19 patient, was thought to not survive at times. He spent over two months at the Ho Chi Minh City Hospital for Tropical Diseases before being transferred to Cho Ray Hospital in the same city after having shaken off the novel coronavirus.

He is currently in good health and can eat without the need of medical intervention. His limb muscle strength and respiratory functions have returned. He can breathe, sit up on his own and walk a few steps on his own with the aid of a supporting frame.

In May, the Health Ministry considered a lung transplant for the British pilot as his condition at the time proved much more severe. Computed tomography scan results showed fibrosis had solidified most of his lungs, making him reliant on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) to survive.

But as his condition progressed, his lungs slowly healed, meaning he no longer needs the transplant.

The patient's insurance company reportedly paid VND3.5 billion ($150,700) for his treatment at the HCMC Hospital for Tropical Diseases.

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