Vietnam an unforgettable trip for Covid-19 couple

By Chi Le   April 17, 2020 | 02:57 pm GMT+7

A British tourist couple managed to turn their coronavirus ordeal in Vietnam into a memorable experience.

The atmosphere at the intensive care department of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi on Tuesday afternoon was more lively than usual.

British woman Mary Craddock, 70, discharged from the hospital on March 30 after nearly three weeks of treatment in Vietnam, talked to doctors and medical staff after her infected husband was declared free of the novel coronavirus.

She and 69-year-old Graham Craddock were confirmed positive for the virus on March 8 while touring Lao Cai Province in Vietnam's northern highlands, home to the famous resort town of Sa Pa.

"He's fine again," she said.

Graham spent nearly a month receiving treatment at the hospital since being infected with the virus.

"Just missing a bouquet of flowers," Mary added narrowing her eyes and smiling behind her mask.

Mary Craddock picks up her husband at the department of intensive care of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi on April 14, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Chi Le. 

Mary Craddock picks up her husband at the intensive care department of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi on April 14, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Chi Le. 

The couple are being monitored at the hospital for 14 days before leaving for home.

They got married 47 years ago. In old age, the couple planned to travel and enjoy life together. They intended to visit Vietnam in January last year but Mary’s mother died, forcing them to cancel their plans.

More than a year later, the couple touched down in the Southeast Asian country without worrying. At the time, Vietnam had just discharged all its 16 Covid-19 patients. The country had gone 22 days without new infections until March 6.

They took Vietnam Airlines flight VN54 from London to Hanoi on March 2. The couple moved to Sa Pa on March 5 and started developing symptoms on March 7 before being taken to a local hospital for treatment.

At least 16 people on the plane were subsequently confirmed Covid-19 positive after the first case was detected, a 26-year-old Hanoian woman, who became the capital’s first infection.

Mary said they had been in Vietnam for six weeks but mostly in the hospital.

Mary Craddock telling the story about her husbands Covid-19 treatment.

Mary Craddock telling the story about her husband's Covid-19 treatment.

"I am quite sad because I want to see the famous terraced fields, majestic mountains and sunrise in northwest Vietnam," she said.

After being admitted to Lao Cai Hospital, Graham's illness worsened, and he had to be transferred to the intensive care department at the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi. Mary followed her husband and was treated in the isolation area for mild patients.

She was discharged from hospital on March 30 along with 26 other patients.

Mary said she was afraid her husband would have to remain on a ventilator, since at first he looked very confused and didn't recognize her.

"I tried to talk to the doctors, but they didn't reveal much. I just knew they were trying to save my husband. We were very lucky, very very lucky," she said.

The 69-year-old British man was one of three critically ill patients being treated at the hospital. On Tuesday, he could walk a short distance and talked happily with everyone.

Graham Craddock has recovered after treatment in Vietnam.

Graham Craddock has recovered after treatment in Vietnam.

"I was very touched to see people working all day and night to save our lives. I saw doctors who often stayed up all night. It was incredible," he said, when his wife pushed his wheelchair from the intensive care unit.

Graham said this is "an unforgettable holiday". "We have survived, thank you everyone." 

For Mary the "extraordinary" trip to Vietnam "ended happily".

 
 
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