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Covid-19 British pilot: "Miracle" flight heading home

06:30 | 12/07/2020

Reuters, ABC News, AP among other international news outlets have followed closely the path to recovery of a British pilot, Vietnam’s most critical COVID-19 patient from when he spent two months in a ventilator and planned to have double lung transplant to free of virus and healthy. 

british pilot makes a full motor recovery British pilot makes a full motor recovery
international readers praise vietnams efforts in saving british pilot covid 19 patient International readers praise Vietnam’s efforts in saving British pilot COVID-19 patient
critically ill british pilot coronavirus patient smiles shakes hands with doctors Critically ill British pilot coronavirus patient smiles, shakes hands with doctors

Stephen Cameron, Vietnam’s patient number 91, has recovered from COVID-19 and is returning home today (July 12th). The symbol of Vietnam's pandemic success, as referred to by Reuters, will be accompanied by a team of doctors during the flight to London.

The 43-year-old Scot, arriving in Vietnam in early March, was tested positive for COVID-19 only three days after his first flight for Vietnam Airlines, following a visit to a bar in Ho Chi Minh City that became a coronavirus outbreak. Cameron’s illness and the highly publicised efforts of Vietnam’s doctors to save him became a symbol in Vietnam of the country’s successful fight against the virus, as reported by Reuters.

covid 19 british pilot miracle flight heading home
Vietnam's most critical COVID-19 patient is carried on a stretcher in Ho Chi Minh city. Photo: Daily Mail.

The ABC news recognized Vietnam’s huge efforts to save the man, who had been critically ill and spent 65 days on life support. Doctors said at one point they considered a lung transplant as the man's lungs were 90% damaged and non-functional. With the vast majority of Vietnam’s COVID-19 patients already recovered, the news of a potential first death prompted a national outpouring of support, with dozens of people coming forward as potential lung donors.

covid 19 british pilot miracle flight heading home
A doctor attended Cameron. Photo: Cho Ray hospital.

However, like a miracle, after he woke from a coma at the end of May, there were small signs of improvement – a thumbs-up sign for an attentive doctor, a trip on to the balcony to catch some sunshine and a video of him holding a Motherwell football club scarf aloft. Every little progress was closely followed by the media and attracted great attention.

“The patient’s recovery has been like a very long flight” – Dr. Tran Thanh Linh, the deputy head of the ICU ward at Cho Ray Hospital, said during a meeting between hospital officials, the British Consulate and Vietnam Airlines representatives just before Cameron’s discharge – the Washing Post reported. “All of the health workers are overwhelmed with joy to see him fully recovered and being discharged from the hospital today.”

covid 19 british pilot miracle flight heading home
Mr Cameron was handed a certificate stating that he is virus-free and healthy enough to travel on a long-haul flight. Photo: Daily Mail.

The UK’s Daily Mail quoted Mr Cameron: “I'm overwhelmed by the generosity of the Vietnamese people, the dedication and professionalism of the doctors and nurses working at Cho Ray Hospital. I'm going home with a happy heart because I'm going home, but it is sad that I'm leaving so many people here that I'm friends with”.

Vietnam has reported 370 coronavirus cases with no local transmitted infection for nearly three months. All recent cases are people who were infected abroad and had been under compulsory quarantine upon their arrival in Vietnam.

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