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Patient transfer logistical nightmare

Update: May, 11/2013 - 09:55

HCM CITY(VNS) — A 24-year-old Russian tourist was safely taken from HCM City - based Cho Ray Hospital to the Bangkok Heart hospital in a very serious situation on Wednesday.

According to the Thai and Singaporean medical sources, it was the first time ever that such a transportation had taken place in the region.

They said it was technically one of the most complicated air-transfers possible.

The tourist, who has not been named, collapsed at the Tan Son Nhat Airport on arrival on May 1, and was diagnosed with cardiogenic shock caused by acute myocarditis. She was treated at the Tam Duc Hospital.

Over the next 48 hours, the patient's condition continued to deteriorate. The only solution was to attach her to a heart lung machine (ECMO).

She was transferred to the Cho Ray Hospital and connected to the ECMO for four days. Although her condition had stabilised, her family requested the transfer to a specialised heart hospital in Bangkok.

The family and her insurance company contacted the Family Medical Practice (FMP) to arrange the transfer.

FMP doctors examined the patient and simulated the technical issues of the transfer. The challenges were numerous, not only in the equipment field, as a large number of medical units had to be operated at the same time while maintaining a continuous power supply.

The risks of moving the patient from the hospital to a stretcher, into the ambulance, and then onto the aircraft was enormous, sources said.

The choice of Aircraft fell on a VNA ATR72 which has a large cargo door to enable the patient and the tower of surrounding equipment to be loaded. The aircraft was modified internally to accommodate the team of physicians, a nurse and bio engineers.

The transfer of the patient onto the aircraft had to be done with utmost care. In the early hours of Wednesday, the team landed with a very stable patient at the Bangkok International Airport.

The patient was then handed over to the Thai team and taken to the Bangkok Heart Hospital. — VNS


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