Doctors at Hallym University Medical Center successfully carried out a lung transplant on a COVID-19 patient last month, the first such operation in Korea and the ninth in the world, according to the hospital, Thursday.
A female patient in her 50s whose lungs had collapsed due to the new coronavirus received the transplanted organs, June 21. Hospitalized on Feb. 29, the patient was immediately put on a respirator as she was experiencing difficulty breathing. She was then placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for 112 days from March 1 to the day before her surgery. The hospital said she has been recovering well, noting that she is now able to breathe unassisted.
“She had one of the most serious cases among the critically ill patients in Korea,” said Kim Hyung-soo, a cardiothoracic surgeon who heads the ECMO center at the hospital. “Young patients should not let their guard down as COVID-19 could require a lung transplant. We ask people to continue to comply with social distancing guidelines and wear face masks.”
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 54 new infections Wednesday ― 44 local and 10 imported cases ― bringing the nation’s total to 12,904. The death toll remained unchanged at 282.
Among the 44 local cases, 22 were from the southwestern city of Gwangju, 18 were from Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province, two were from South Chungcheong Province, while Daegu and Daejeon reported one each. Gwangju officials are on high alert as the city saw more than 20 virus cases in a day, part of an infection cluster traced to a Buddhist temple. The KCDC said a total of 49 patients have been traced to the temple as of noon Thursday, noting that infections at the temple have spread to a number of other places, including a church and a nursing home.
Amid growing fears over further community transmission, the Gwangju Metropolitan Government raised its social distancing guidelines from Level 1 to Level 2, Wednesday, which prohibits indoor gatherings of 50 or more and outdoor meetings of over 100. “If this situation continues, we will face a lack of hospital beds and medical personnel soon,” Gwangju Mayor Lee Yong-sub said during a media briefing, noting that the city will enhance disinfection activities in places where many people gather.
Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Government issued an administrative order, Thursday, banning the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions from staging a massive rally scheduled for Saturday on Yeouido. The order came after the umbrella labor group signaled its determination to push ahead with the rally, in which some 50,000 members are expected to participate, despite the continuous spread of the contagious disease in the capital area.
Source: The Korea Times