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Using helicopters to transport critical Truong Sa soldiers to the mainland

A 50-year-old soldier in Truong Sa, suffering from a gastrointestinal infection, complications from shock, and multiple organ damage, was taken to the Nam Yet island hospital for emergency treatment.

Initially, the patient had abdominal pain, vomiting, repeated diarrhea, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. Then the condition worsened, the patient’s circulatory failure, bradycardia to 32 beats per minute, low blood pressure 80/50 mmHg, electrocardiogram showed third-degree atrioventricular block (severe bradyarrhythmia). .

Doctors and medical staff at Nam Yet Island Hospital consulted with colleagues at Military Medical Hospital 103 on the mainland, diagnosing the patient with septic shock, complications of myocarditis, dangerous arrhythmias, very severe prognosis. The air ambulance team of Military Hospital 175, carrying emergency equipment, was taken by helicopter to Truong Sa on the afternoon of May 16. Lieutenant, doctor Ta Van Bach, the emergency team leader, put a temporary pacemaker through the skin for the patient, used vasopressors, controlled blood pressure, then took the patient to Ho Chi Minh City for treatment.

On the evening of May 16, the weather was bad, heavy rain, strong wind, the helicopter could not land at the landing area on the roof of the 175 Military Hospital building, so it had to change direction to Tan Son Nhat airport. The patient is transferred by ambulance to the hospital.

The patient was actively treated immediately upon admission.  Photo: Military Hospital 175

Doctors at Military Hospital 175 gave first aid to patients when they were brought from Truong Sa to Ho Chi Minh City on the evening of May 16. Image: Military Hospital 175

Here, the patient had an emergency consultation, diagnosed with septic shock, multi-organ damage such as myocarditis – severe arrhythmia, acute kidney injury, acute liver failure, coagulation disorders – scattered coagulation intravascular. Patients must be intubated with mechanical ventilation, maintain pacemakers, vasopressors, corticosteroids, continuous dialysis, and plasma exchange.

By the afternoon of May 17, the patient’s condition gradually improved, the dose of vasopressors was reduced, the heart rate almost returned to normal, and the blood pressure stabilized. Liver failure and kidney damage are still severe but tend to improve compared to yesterday. In addition to basic resuscitation, the patient still needs to continue dialysis and plasma exchange.

“The patient’s prognosis is still very severe,” said major, doctor Duong Quoc Khanh, emergency resuscitation department.

Doctors suspected that the patient had a gastrointestinal infection due to an infection, food poisoning, so they continued to conduct blood cultures and stool cultures to find disease-causing bacteria.

In recent years, many soldiers and people… living and working in the Spratly Islands have had health problems transport helicopter return to the mainland for treatment, instead of on-site treatment or transfer by ship.

Military Medical Hospital 175 built a helipad on the roof of the Institute of Orthopedic Trauma, inaugurated at the end of 2020, in order to minimize the time to transport patients, increase the chances of timely saving the lives of patients. in need of urgent intervention. In addition, emergency flights can still depart and land from Tan Son Nhat airport as before.

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