During the Covid-19 pandemic, when most were confused and overwhelmed, Dr Vu Truong Son currently Head of the Infectious Diseases Department, FV Hospital was leading by example on the` front lines, lifting everyone’s spirits, providing ongoing training and putting in place procedures to protect staff and patients from Covid-19 and the long-ranging effects of the pandemic.
Dr Son’s remarkable resilience and work ethic earned him the unwavering trust of his colleagues at FV Hospital Trust and the deep gratitude of FV’s Board of Directors.
Dr Son shared his story with us on a weekend afternoon, passionately sharing the special opportunity FV has created within the infectious diseases field, which he says is considered the “most underfunded and niche” in the medical sector. He also shared his heartfelt desires for the future of this discipline.
Dr Vu Truong Son, Head of the Infectious Diseases Department of FV Hospital
The medical profession was not among Dr Son’s original career choices as a young student. However, when he was in high school, he witnessed a close friend suffering from a brain tumour, expressing difficulties in treatment, and he made the decision to become a physician. Entering the lecture hall of a medical university, the young student Vu Truong Son enthusiastically participated in various volunteer activities. Dr Son says that one of his most striking memories is of his internship in the early 2000s when he had to care for patients with Tuberculosis or HIV. Dealing with a very high risk of infection as part his day-to-day responsibilities inspired Dr Son to pursue specialisation in the field of infectious diseases.
Dr Son has 13 years of experience in various roles within the field of infectious diseases
The case that Dr Son remembers the most is that of a terminal HIV-positive patient. The patient was exhausted due to generalised tuberculosis and fungal infection, weighing only 36 kilograms when they were admitted to hospital. After initial screening, the doctors thought it was too late to provide any kind of treatment. However, Dr Son still believed that there was a slight hope of improving the patient’s condition and committed himself wholeheartedly to treatment. Evoking the care, a patient shows their child, the devotion of this young doctor brought about what many might call a miracle: the patient made a good recovery from their immediate symptoms, much to everyone’s surprise.
Now, with 13 years of experience working in the field of infection control and infectious diseases, Dr Son still has the same passion for his work, even though this is a field that people often jokingly say as the “poorest” in the medical profession. Historically, this field has received little attention in Vietnam, but when Covid-19 appeared, the role of infectious disease doctors became extremely important. Dr Son’s individual contribution during the pandemic has been immeasurable.
Dr Son was one of the main coordinators at FV hospital during the Covid-19 outbreak
During the Covid-19 pandemic, when many doctors were confused and deeply concerned about how to safely treat patients while keeping their teams healthy, Dr Son was leading by example on the front lines, on duty at the hospital 24/7, constantly lifting the team’s spirits, and providing ongoing training to help staff protect themselves and their patients. His many years of knowledge and experience meant that Dr Son had an excellent understanding of the nature of respiratory infections and was able to devise appropriate prevention measures. He confronted all fears expressed by his colleagues, supporting them in the fight against this disease as they cared for hundreds of patients daily.
When the vaccine was released against a backdrop of doubt, Dr Son strongly encouraged the medical team and the community to implement widespread vaccination. This passionate, brave doctor fiercely supported FV’s medical teams through travel control checkpoints to provide shots to high-risk patients at FV who needed prompt vaccination.
“Thanks to his professional experience in infection control, Dr Son has been extremely confident in dealing with Covid-19. He has made an invaluable contribution in building the process of infection control, classification and screening of patients via online forms and on arrival at the hospital gate, in addition to the taking of samples, testing and patient isolation, to ensure safety for thousands of medical staff and patients,” says Dr Do Trong Khanh, Medical Director of FV Hospital.
The decision to establish the Infectious Diseases Department arose from an urgent need
Once the main thrust of the pandemic subsided and we arrived at “the new normal”, Dr Son proposed the Board of Directors of FV Hospital establish a Department of Infectious Diseases to strengthen the shield against risk of infection at the hospital and help protect patients and medical staff, as well as contribute to preventing infection in the future.
“With the implementation of the Infectious Diseases Department, our short-term goal is to contribute my strength to patients and doctors who continue to fight Covid-19. The long-term goal is to build FV into the leading infectious disease centre of Vietnam,” explains Dr Son.
Dr Son has successfully treated serious infection cases and earned the trust of many multi-specialist doctors at FV
In addition to its focus on the treatment of infectious diseases, the Department of Infectious Diseases is also responsible for managing antibiotic use for all patients.
When the topic of antibiotic overuse comes up, a worried look appears on the young doctor’s face. He says that among the patients who present with drug-resistant bacteria during screening at FV, one-third of them had multi-drug resistant bacteria, i.e. those infections were resistant to many forms of antibiotics, which meant that conventional treatment via medication would be ineffective. As a result, these patients are at risk of severe complications, even death, and carry the risk of spreading multi-resistant pathogens to their families and communities. Dr Son considers this a vastly overlooked danger which needs be taken carefully controlled under sufficient antibiotic use guidelines.
FV invests in modern equipment to best support the Department of Infectious Diseases
With the establishment of the Department of Infectious Diseases, Dr Son wants to raise people’s awareness about the harmful consequences of inappropriate antibiotic use habits. Overusing antibiotics, especially when they are not needed, will make diseases more and more difficult to treat, until some cannot be addressed at all, putting lives at risk.
To contact the Infectious Diseases Department, FV Hospital, please call: (028) 54 11 33 33.