A patient whose life was saved with emergency surgical intervention at Cho Ray Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Cho Ray Hospital)

HCM City (​VNA/ANN) - A 70-year-old Japanese tourist was admitted to Cho Ray Hospital in HCM City on Lunar New Year’s Eve with a sudden onset of severe chest pain.

Mikochi had chest pain and passed out just as his flight was arriving at Tan Son Nhat Airport.

He was sent to an international clinic for immediate resuscitative efforts and transferred to Cho Ray Hospital’s emergency department due to his critical condition.

He was diagnosed with Stanford type A acute aortic dissection, which requires early treatment for survival, Nguyen Thai An, head of the cardiac surgery department, said.

Trauma red alert, the highest level, was activated and an operating room was readied within 60 minutes, he said.

Administrative procedures were skipped to carry out the life-saving surgery immediately, he said.

All the members of the hospital’s rapid response team were present in the surgery room though it was New Year’s Eve.

In the event, the surgical intervention saved the patient’s life. He was discharged six days later in stable condition.

Truong The Hiep, deputy head of the hospital’s emergency department, said it receives an average of 350 patients every day, most of them with multiple injuries.

A third of them need emergency surgical intervention, he said.

In some cases doctors have to provide cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and perform surgery at the emergency department’s surgery room since any delay could be fatal, he said.

The hospital’s rapid response system helps save dozens of critically ill patients every year.

Since paediatrics trauma alert red was initiated in 2008, doctors at the HCM City Paediatrics No.1 Hospital have performed around 20 emergency surgeries required upon its activation.

Inter-hospital alert

Last September Nguyen Thi Hieu Thao, 20, of Hoc Mon District suddenly developed severe eclampsia when she was nine months pregnant and was admitted to Thong Nhat Hospital for emergency attention.

She was in a coma, her blood pressure was a high 210/120 mm Hg. She later went into cardiac and respiratory arrest.

Doctors provided cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and called Hung Vuong Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital’s emergency response team for immediate surgical intervention.

Hung Vuong’s rapid response team of obstetricians, medical assistants and nurses performed a caesarean section to deliver the baby within 20 minutes of the activation of the alert.

Thao and her 3.4kg boy soon became stable and were discharged a one week later.

Nguyen Thi Le, Thao’s mother, said, overwhelmed: “It was like a miracle. I almost passed out. I thought my daughter would die.

“The doctors were so good they could save the life of mother and son.”

“As soon as we receive an alert call, we have to act rapidly and concentrate intensely,” Nguyen Thi Anh Phuong, deputy head of Hung Vuong Hospital’s obstetrics department, said.

“The goal is to save the patient’s life.”

Phuong has twice been on the rapid response team to provide emergency out-of-hospital surgical care.

The successful operation on Thao was attributed to close co-ordination between doctors at the two hospitals and the activation of the alert, which circumvents procedures and facilitates immediate surgery.

It was one of six out-of-hospital surgeries performed since the city Department of Health introduced the inter-hospital alert last year.

City-wide expansion

Tang Chi Thuong, deputy director of the department, said the inter-hospital alert for rapid response emergencies is a life-saving measure for critically ill patients who would otherwise die on the way to hospital.

“Co-ordinated action by multi-disciplinary physicians and hospitals are crucial to successful emergency life-saving surgical intervention.”

The department has recommended implementation of hospital-wide and inter-hospital alerts across the city to improve survival rates.

Cho Ray Hospital plans to set up surgery rooms in various departments to simplify the process for emergency surgeries, Pham The Viet, head of the hospital’s general planning department, said.

The number of patients admitted to Cho Ray Hospital with life-threatening conditions has soared in the past few years, he said.

Last year there were 15 cases that triggered trauma alert red, and doctors managed to save 10 of the patients.

In the first two months of this year there have already been eight, Viet said.

The activation of hospital-wide alerts should also be standardised with an integrated set of co-ordinated actions so that it can operate smoothly and effectively, he added.- VNA