Dr Lương Ngọc Khuê, Director general of the Administration of Medical Service (left) and Nguyễn Ngọc Thảo, deputy director of Chợ Rẫy Hospital in HCM City, visit the pilot on Friday morning. — Photo courtesy of Chợ Rẫy Hospital
HCM CITY — Việt Nam’s most critically ill COVID-19 patient has recovered well and is now in good enough health to be flown back home to the UK on July 12 as per the request of the UK Embassy in Việt Nam.
Top doctors across Việt Nam's leading medical institutions and agencies reached the assessment as they convened Friday for the sixth and likely final teleconference on the condition of Scotsman Stephen Cameron, also known as Patient No.91 in Việt Nam.
Previously in the morning, Dr Lương Ngọc Khuê, Director general of the Administration of Medical Service, and Professor Nguyễn Gia Bình, Chairman of Việt Nam’s Association of Emergency & Poison Resuscitation, visited the pilot in Chợ Rẫy Hospital in HCM City.
Cameron can now communicate and interact well with the doctors and has learned some Vietnamese under the instruction of Dr Khuê.
The expert panel reviewed the patient’s medical files and discussed risks that could occur when the patient is transported by air.
Chợ Rẫy Hospital needs to develop a detailed plan on patient transport measures and craft a check-list for his vital signs.
Respiration experts concluded that Cameron can now be safely transported from Chợ Rẫy Hospital.
Professor Bình said the patient would not need to be quarantined and would be issued a SARS-CoV-2 free certificate, as Cameron was already declared clear of the virus in late May after his COVID-19 treatment at the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
Khuê, however, requested that Cameron undergo another COVID-19 test before being discharged from Chợ Rẫy Hospital.
For legal reasons, the treatment sub-committee of the National Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control assigned Chợ Rẫy to keep in touch with the agency that would receive the pilot in line with both countries’ legal and diplomatic norms, as well as make his medical records available in both Vietnamese and English.
Until July 12, the patient will still need to take part in rehabilitation and physical therapy sessions.
As of Friday, Cameron has spent 107 days in treatment at two hospitals in HCM City since his hospitalisation in mid-March, in relation to the Buddha Bar coronavirus cluster which accounted for a total of 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Việt Nam.
During April and May, his condition deteriorated dangerously to a point where only 10 per cent of his lungs could function properly and he had to be put on life support for most of his treatment at HCM City for Tropical Diseases.
A lung transplant was once considered but thanks to Vietnamese doctors’ efforts and determination to save his life, it was deemed no longer necessary.
Cameron has not needed life support since June 3 and came off the ventilator nine days later.
A group of Vietnamese medical workers will also reportedly accompany the patient on the flight, organised by Vietnamese and UK authorities, operated by Vietnam Airlines, to bring stranded British citizens home.
Cameron is the last foreign COVID-19 patient being treated in Việt Nam and the one in treatment the longest.— VNS