24/07/2009

Swine Flu Woman Treated In Sweden

A pregnant British woman who is critically ill with swine flu has been treated in a Swedish hospital after being transferred from Scotland for specialised treatment.

The 26-year-old woman was admitted to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock last week where she was put on a ventilator. She is said to be critically ill and suffering a rare complication.

She was flown to Stockholm as there were no beds available in the UK for the procedure she requires.

The Scot is now undergoing a highly-specialised procedure known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which involves circulating the patient’s blood outside the body and adding oxygen to it artificially.

ECMO is a relatively new technique that is used when a patient’s lungs are functioning very poorly even with ventilation and high levels of oxygen.

Dr Robert Masterson, Executive Medical Director of NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said: "Once an ECMO bed was identified in Sweden, our intensive care specialists worked closely with our Swedish colleagues to make sure the patient was stable before being transferred."

He continued: "The family have been fully involved in this decision and support the referral. They have asked for privacy while they concentrate on the patient's treatment and recovery."

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon added: "This woman has suffered severe complications and requires urgent and highly specialised treatment.

"It is therefore absolutely right that she is transferred to Sweden for treatment which could save her life."

Yesterday the Government launched a new website and freephone hotline for those who have the H1N1 virus.

The phone number - which will be open from 8am until midnight - has been designed to relieve the pressure of the National Health Service (NHS), and it would give flu sufferers access to anti-flu drugs, without the need to consult a GP.

It was also revealed that the number of those diagnosed with swine flu in the last seven days has reached 100,000 - more than double of the total the previous week in England.

See: Swine Flu Line To Be Launched As 100,000 More Diagnosed

(JM/BMcC)

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