The British pilot who was critically ill in Vietnam with COVID-19 is now undergoing physical therapy after waking from a coma and beating the virus.
Doctors at the Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam confirmed that the Vietnam Airlines pilot, 43, known as ‘Patient 91’, can make basic communication and the Health Ministry now say he has increased muscle strength in all his limbs.
Local media report the pilot, who was named as ‘Mr Stephen Cameron’ in a letter of thanks to the Vietnamese health authorities from the British Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Ian Gibbons, is now seeing improvement in his lung function.
Reports state he is receiving physical therapy twice a day as his recovery continues.
The 43-year-old is still using an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) system but the blood rate through the system is down to 3.7 litres per minute, compared to 5.7 litres per minute at his worst condition.
The ECMO pumps bloody out of the body to a machine which carries out the functions of the heart and lungs, removing carbon dioxide and sending oxygen-filled blood back.
The team hope to reduce the flow going through the system to 2.5 litres per minute as his lungs begin to play a bigger role in oxygenation.
He remains in a critical condition but his kidney function has improved after he was taken off dialysis on 27th May.
Reports state he is still being fed either directly or intravenously as they look for suitable donors for a lung transplant.
He woke from his coma last week, with Tran Thanh Linh, the deputy head of the hospital saying that he was able to communicate after his doses of muscle relaxants and sedatives had been reduced.
Archive Story: Brit Pilot In Vietnam Wakes From Coma, Can Communicate
Local media reported the pilot can move his fingers and toes but still has problems breathing. He was declared free of COVID-19 on 21st May and was transferred from the Hospital for Tropical Diseases to his current facility.
He had suffered from cytokine storm syndrome when his immune system overreacted to the coronavirus attacking his body and released too many cytokines, damaging his organs.
Cytokines are proteins released by white blood cells and in cytokine storms they can overwhelm the body.
In his letter of thanks addressed to Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong, Consul General Gibbons expressed his gratitude to the Hospital of Tropical Diseases and Cho Ray Hospital for their “excellent care” of Cameron.
He wrote: “They have worked tirelessly and spared no efforts in helping him during the time he has been critically ill in hospital. We have been in very close touch with all the relevant authorities throughout the time Mr Cameron has been so unwell.
“We are in regular contact with his family and close friends. We could not have asked for better treatment. Once again, my sincere and personal thanks to all involved in his care.”
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