Backpacker is fighting for her life in Vietnam hospital with pneumonia

British backpacker is fighting for her life in Vietnam hospital after her sore throat developed into pneumonia

  • Mekala Osborne, 22, was taken to the Pacific Hospital in Hoi An four days ago
  • She developed minor symptoms of cold which then developed into pneumonia
  • Personal trainer, of Prestonpans, East Lothian, currently fighting for life in ICU

A British tourist is fighting for her life after a sore throat developed into pneumonia during a backpacking trip in Vietnam.

Mekala Osborne, 22, was taken to the Pacific Hospital in Hoi An four days ago after developing the minor symptoms of a cold.

The personal trainer, of Prestonpans, East Lothian, initially treated the pain with lozenges but visited a GP when she developed a fever.

The doctor diagnosed bronchitis, an infection of the main airways of the lungs, but by Tuesday she was struggling to breathe and admitted to hospital.

Mekala Osborne, 22, was taken to the Pacific Hospital in Hoi An, Vietnam, four days ago after developing the minor symptoms of a cold

The doctor diagnosed bronchitis, an infection of the main airways of the lungs, but by Tuesday she was struggling to breathe and admitted to hospital

A day later she was transferred to an intensive care unit (ICU) where friends said her condition is critical. Here she’s pictured enjoying her backpacking trip before she took ill

A day later she was transferred to an intensive care unit (ICU) where friends said her condition is critical. 

According to a friend at the family’s home, Miss Osborne’s mother Yvonne McAulay has flown to her daughter’s bedside.

She broke the news on Facebook earlier this week, saying: ‘Mekala has been transferred to an ICU in Danang. 

She is currently sedated in order for her body to recover. She has confirmed pneumonia.’

Miss Osborne, who lives with her mother, her stepfather James and 16-year-old brother Danny had been touring south-east Asia with a friend when she fell ill while at a hostel.

WHAT IS PNEUMONIA?

Pneumonia is a type of chest infection that affects the tiny air sacs in the lungs. 

The condition causes these sacs to be become inflammed and fill with fluid, making it harder to breathe.

Pneumonia is caused by bacteria or viruses, with the most common being Streptococcus pneumoniae. 

It affects between five and 11 out of every 1,000 adults every year in the UK. 

Anyone can suffer from pneumonia, however, at-risk groups include:

  • Babies and young children
  • People over 65
  • Those with long-term heart, lung or kidney disease
  • People with cancer, particularly those having chemotherapy
  • Smokers
  • Those on drugs that suppress their immune systems

Antibiotics or mechanical ventilator use in hospitals also raise the risk. 

Symptoms include

  • Coughing up mucus
  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

In severe cases, sufferers may cough up blood, vomit or have a rapid heart rate.

Treatment is usually antibiotics, which may need to be given intravenously in hospital in severe cases.

Source: British Lung Foundation 

Posts on social media show the pair had visited the religious monument of Angkor Wat, Cambodia, taken a boat trip up the Mekong River, which runs the length of Vietnam, and explored the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network dug during the Vietnam war.

However, her health took a turn for the worse at the weekend.

In an online post shared by Miss Osborne’s mother, she wrote: ‘Four days ago I started getting a sore throat, the day after I had a fever and my throat was in agony.

‘Went to a pharmacy and they said it’s like post-infection symptoms so just gave me painkillers and said it should ease off.

‘Yesterday morning when I arrived in Hoi An, I couldn’t speak, breathe or swallow. Went to see a doctor who said I had bronchitis and gave me a lot of tablets.

‘Last night I couldn’t breathe again and was coughing up a lot of blood. I ended up in hospital and was kept in overnight while they ran tests.’

Miss Osborne added: ‘Just been for an X-ray this morning and the bronchitis spread into my right lung and caused pneumonia.

‘I can’t believe this started as a sore throat that I just used Strepsils for. Not sure how much longer I’ll be in for, but I just want to go home now and be in the arms of my mum and Jimmy.’

A crowdfunding campaign set up by friend David Martin had last night raised £4,500 for her family to fly to her bedside.

Writing on the webpage, Mr Martin said: ‘Mekala is in a critical condition in Vietnam. For those who know the family, this has come as a very severe blow, as they also have a young son to look after at home.

‘So we, as friends, need to help them not to worry about how they can ensure the family is with Mekala. Thanks for your help.’

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