Vietnam coma Scot flown home after virus scare

Getty / Mekala OsborneImage copyright
Getty / Mekala Osborne

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Mekala Osborne became ill while she was in Hoi An, Danang, Vietnam

A woman who woke from a coma after battling a life-threatening virus in Vietnam has returned to Scotland.

Mekala Osborne, a fitness instructor from Edinburgh, landed at Manchester Airport on Saturday and was transferred to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The 22-year-old was touring South East Asia in September when she fell ill with the bug, similar to pneumonia.

Her condition deteriorated so badly her family were told she had a 5% chance of survival.

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Yvonne McAulay

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Mekala and her mother Yvonne McAulay, who has spent two months at her bedside

She was placed in a medically-induced into a coma and moved to a hospital in Singapore.

Mekala’s condition slowly improved and she was woken after two weeks – a week later she was off life support.

‘Cloud nine’

Her insurance company tifgroup, who organised her safe return to Scotland, confirmed the 13 and a half-hour flight was a success.

Client services advisor Paige Ware said: “Mekala landed safely at Manchester Airport on Saturday morning with mum Yvonne by her side.

“I spoke with Yvonne after they landed and she told me how the whole family is on cloud nine.”

Mekala first noticed a sore throat three weeks into her trip with friends and bought Strepsils to ease the discomfort.

She also bought a facemask to protect her from germs, but within 24 hours she was hospitalised.

Cambodian forest virus

While in intensive care at Danang Hospital, her mother Yvonne McAulay was summoned from Edinburgh, with stepfather Jimmy McAulay arriving days later.

Mekala was taken to a specialist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital where a consultant studied her travel itinerary and identified her illness as an airborne virus picked up in a forest in Cambodia.

Mr McAulay, 64, said: “Her lungs, particularly her right one, were severely damaged and they were talking about a lung transplant.

“We thought we would be bringing her home in a casket – that’s what we were told to expect. We knew if something didn’t happen soon, we could fear the worst.”

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Yvonne McAulay

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Stepfather Jimmy MacAulay said they were told Mekala had a 5% chance of recovery

After two months in hospital, Mekala was moved onto a portable ventilator and was later deemed fit enough to be flown back to the UK.

She passed a medical assessment at Manchester Airport before being transferred to Scotland.

Ms Ware added: “Mekala will remain in isolation for the next few days to ensure any infection has gone, but generally, she is doing really well.”

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