Health Enews

I lay my life in your hands, Doctor!

After receiving treatment at FV Hospital for one month, Mr T was recently discharged and returned to France with his family, putting an end to his life-or-death battle with a resounding victory. The unsung hero behind this success story is Dr Nguyen Manh Hung, from FV’s Neurosurgery Department.


Mr T, 85 – a Vietnamese-French man who returned to Vietnam to visit his family – had started to suffer from back pain and weakness in his legs, but disregarded them as he assumed that they were just normal age-related changes.

As Mr T’s condition deteriorated over time – he also had cancer, which had metastacised

— and he began to have difficulty urinating, his worried family sent him to FV Hospital for examination.

Convinced that Mr T’s other symptoms were not simply age-related but rooted in chiropractic injury, Dr Nguyen Manh Hung immediately indicated a surgery.

However, the insurance company insisted on Mr T travelling to France for treatment and rejected the surgery plan in Vietnam. While waiting to return to France, Mr T was admitted for drug treatment.

After waiting a week for the insurance company to arrange his flight, Mr T’s condition worsened. His legs became paralysed and he couldn’t control his bladder. Believing that his patient couldn’t afford further delay, Dr Hung once again propounded an emergency surgery. This time, the insurance company conceded.

“This is a complicated case as senile patients tend to have congenital diseases and high possibility of sudden death. The patient also has diabetes, which would slow his recovery from surgical incision. In addition, the metastasis from liver cancer detected two months prior had spread into his spine and lung, making it more difficult to perform surgery around these areas”, shares Dr Hung.

A cross-specialty consultation involving a cardiologist, diabetes specialist, anaesthesiologist and the surgeon in charge was quickly invoked prior to the surgery so that the team could prepare in case of any possible complications.

During the surgery, Dr Nguyen Manh Hung released intracranial pressure (spinal cord, radicle), strengthened Mr T.’s spine to hasten his recovery of his mobility, and removed a spinal tumour. Three weeks after his surgery, Mr T has improved remarkably. He regained his mobility and ability to control his bladder, and was discharged so that he could return to France.

Talking about his decision, Dr Nguyen Manh Hung revealed that he didn’t know for sure what would happen during the surgery, but he was positive that the patient was in danger of suffering unrecoverable paralysis, incontinence, urinary tract infection and brain and pulmonary embolism.

“I fully comprehended how dangerous the surgery was, but that’s the nature of this work,” Dr Hung says, smiling bashfully. Dr Hung believed that the absolute trust his patient had placed in him was critical to the success of the surgery. “Before deciding to have the surgery, the old man said: ‘I lay my life in your hands, doctor!’ “That brought about enormous encouragement and all the confidence I needed to complete that surgery,” Dr Hung adds.

While taking care of Mr T during his last days at FV Hospital before discharge, his niece Ms T.M. became tearful while recalling that Mr T had been walking the thin line between life and death.

“At first we were very worried that the medical service in Vietnam wouldn’t be as good as it was in France. We breathed a sign of relief when we saw the international standard medical procedure at FV and the dedication of Dr Hung,” she shares.

Ms T.M. also expressed her admiration and gratitude to Dr Nguyen Manh Hung that the surgery was carried out neatly and successfully without complications or excessive blood loss. During more than four hours of surgery, Mr T. lost only 370 ml of blood.

Dr Nguyen Manh Hung graduated from University of Medicine, Ho Chi Minh City in 2005, and then obtained his Specialisation Degree Level I from the same medical school in 2012.

Simultaneously, he also completed fellowships in Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic Surgery of the Spine at Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University – Poitiers Institute (France) in 2009 and at HCMC Trauma and Orthosis Hospital in 2015.

Dr Hung served as a neurosurgeon at Gia Dinh Hospital for many years before joining FV in 2017.

Dr Hung specialises in treating head trauma, intracranial haemorrhaging, stroke and brain tumours, and in surgery of the spine and peripheral nerves.