Vietnam determined to save British pilot from a Covid-19 death

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Vietnam is putting all of its effort to save the life of its most critically ill novel Coronavirus patient, a British pilot who works for Vietnam Airlines, the national carrier.

Through aggressive testing and a mass, centralised quarantine programme, the Southeast Asian country has kept its number of coronavirus cases to just 288 and has reported no deaths.


Little expense has been saved to try save the life of the 43-year-old man, identified in medical terms as “Patient 91”, who caught the virus at a bar in the southern business hub of Ho Chi Minh City in mid-March, the Vietnamese national media reported.

More than 4,000 people connected to the bar gathering were tested, with 18 of them found to be infected with the Covid-19.

Unfortunately, the medical authorities recently announced that the British pilot is on life support and his condition has worsened significantly.

On Tuesday, the health ministry held a meeting with experts from top hospitals and decided that the only way to save the man’s life was with a lung transplant.

His case has gained national interest in Vietnam, where the government has won wide-ranging support for its operations to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

On Thursday, state media said 10 people, including a 70-year-old military veteran, had volunteered themselves as lung donors to help the British pilot but had been turned down by State doctors.

“We are touched by their good intentions, but the current regulations don’t allow us to transplant lungs donated by living people,” a representative of the Vietnam National Coordinating Centre for Human Organ Transplantation (VNHOT) explained to the Tuoi Tre newspaper.

The British pilot being treated in Vietnam. Image credit WTVB

The patient has only 10% of his lung capacity left and has been on life support for more than 30 days now.

The Deputy of Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son announced that last month Vietnam had imported dedicated medicines from overseas to treat blood clots in the British patient, however resulting in no avail.

Vietnam has spent more than 5 billion dongs ($200,000) trying to save him, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

In March, Chinese State media declared it had successfully carried out a double lung transplant on a coronavirus patient, a procedure it addressed as a significant method of treating the disease most stricken victims.

Vietnam, after this episode, is now hoping to take advantage of its success in fighting the deadly virus by positioning itself as a safe place to do business as international manufacturers looking to diversify their supply chains away from China.

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