British couple thank Vietnamese health workers for saving their lives
"We are very grateful to the Vietnamese doctors and nurses here for saving our lives. So we decided to come back and express our sincere gratitude to our heroes".
A British couple has come back to Hanoi to thank the health workers who saved them from Covid-19 disease amidst the capital city’s first outbreak.
Shan Coralie Barker and her husband, Dixon John Garth, visited Hanoi's National Hospital of Tropical Diseases on March 8 where Barker presented the doctors and nurses with a book titled "A Diverse Nurse, Thanks Vietnam." The book chronicles Barker and her husband's trip to Vietnam, how they contracted the new coronavirus, and how their lives were saved.
The British couple gives doctors and nurses at the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases a book about their time under care in Hanoi. Photo: VNA
Three years ago, the couple traveled from London to Hanoi to visit their son. However, they tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus before they could meet him. As one of the first reported cases of COVID-19 in Vietnam, they were both taken to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in the capital for treatment.
Garth was a 74-year-old patient with a 10-year history of blood cancer. His treatment was not easy, as he suffered respiratory failure and required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). He finally won the battle after more than a month in the hospital.
On March 27, he was put on a ventilator and moved to intensive care. Ten days later, doctors from the hospital and Vietnam's leading resuscitation experts met to monitor his condition. They made many adjustments to the treatment regimen to find what worked best for him.
By April 5, Garth was off the ventilator and on the road to recovery. After three days of minimal respiratory support, he was able to breathe fully on his own. On April 13, he tested negative for the fourth time and was considered fully recovered and discharged from the hospital.
Covid-19 patient Dixong John Garth during the time receiving treatment in Hanoi in 2020. Photo: VNA
"I am very happy to know the people who treated me because at that time we had no idea what they looked like as they were all wearing protective clothing and masks. They did everything they could to save us," said Barker, then 67, who recovered after a few days of intensive care and was discharged on April 2.
"We are very grateful to the Vietnamese doctors and nurses here for saving our lives. That's why we decided to come back and express our sincere gratitude to our heroes. So far we can see their faces and talk to them without having to wear masks and protective clothing," John said.
Barker, also a nurse, recalled being "in shock" when she learned that she and her husband had been infected. She thought they were going to die in Vietnam. "The Vietnamese doctors are amazing. They saved me. If I hadn't been here, I would have died," she added.
The book titled "A Diverse Nurse, Thanks Vietnam" is about Barker and her husband's trip to Vietnam. Photo: VNA
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