Thai cave rescue: 2 boys rescued may have pneumonia

Thai cave rescue: 2 boys rescued may have pneumonia

Officers clear the area in front of Chiang Rai hospital where the 12 schoolboys and their soccer co
Officers clear the area in front of Chiang Rai hospital. (Photo: REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun)

CHIANG RAI: Two of the eight Thai schoolboys evacuated from the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand have experienced irregularities in their lungs, which their medical team suspects are signs of pneumonia, Public Health permanent secretary Dr Jetsada Chokedamrongsuk said on Tuesday (Jul 10).

"Two of the first four boys evacuated have experienced irregularities in their lungs, and one of them has suffered an injury on the right ankle. All of them have received medical treatments," he told reporters at a news conference at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital, where the eight patients are admitted.

As of Tuesday morning, he added, their body temperatures were normal and they were all able to stand up and walk around their beds.

On Monday night, a second group of four evacuees arrived at the hospital. They all experienced low body temperatures. However, according to Dr Jetsada, one of the boys had it worse than the rest.

His body temperature was very low and he also had an irregular heartbeat with a slow heart rate. He was given medication and is now doing well.

The children had long been exposed to humidity and low temperature inside the caves, Dr Jetsada added. They were also deprived of food and had to dive a long distance to come out, resulting in exhaustion.

READ: Meet the Wild Boars and the heroes who helped bring them to safety 

READ: Thai cave rescue operation: Day 3 as it happens

Once rescued, the eight boys were kept warm during their transport to the Chiang Rai hospital. At the medical ward, Dr Jetsada said a medical team assessed the level of consciousness and their pulse. 

Blood tests were taken and chest x-rays were carried out. The children were also diagnosed with electrocardiography and given IV drips, Tetanus Toxoid vaccine, rabies vaccine and antibiotics.

The first four boys to have arrived at the hospital are 14-16 years old. Those in the second group are aged between 12 and 14. 

READ: Last five trapped in Thai cave to be brought out on Tuesday

The 13 went missing along with their coach on Jun 23, after they set out to explore the Tham Luang cave network in a forest park near Thailand's border with Myanmar.

The football team - Wild Boar Academy - were trapped underground after a monsoon season downpour flooded the cave tunnels. The rescue operation that began on Sunday has gripped the world, as Thai Navy SEALs and foreign divers from across the globe travelled through a waterlogged underground labyrinth to bring them out.

thai cave rescue infographic

"WE MISS HOME"

The eight boys are to remain hospitalised for at least one week as the medical team waits for various lab tests to ensure they will all recover speedily.

Along with medication, they have also been provided with mental support. However, every child is said to be "lively and happy to be out of the caves". They also chatted and laughed with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha during his visit Monday night.

Separated from their families for more than two weeks, the rescued boys long to see their parents. One of the first few words they spoke, according to Dr Jetsada, is "We miss home". They also said they had not seen any animal while being stranded in the caves.

STARVED AND HUNGRY

During their hospitalisation, the eight boys were first given liquid food before being allowed to change to soft food. According to Dr Jetsada, they can now take solid food but are still instructed to avoid spicy dishes. 

"They can only take food that is easy to digest. All of them are now healthy, experience no fever and report good mental health,"  he said, adding that the boys have no issues with their vision.

"The first four who were rescued can sit up in their beds by themselves. Today we'll get them to stand up and walk around."

Despite some weight loss, the eight children are reportedly in good spirits. The first four evacuees, Dr Jetsada added, are often hungry because their bodies need a lot of food. 

On Monday night, parents of the first four evacuees were allowed to visit their children through glass windows to prevent possible infection. Once their lab tests show they are not infected, the actual reunion can take place inside their hospital rooms.

"Almost every child has had a high white blood cell count, which suggests some kind of infection. As a result, the medical team did not prescribe antibiotics to all of them," Dr Jetsada told reporters.

READ MORE | Full coverage of the search and rescue operation:
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/topic/Thailand-cave-rescue

Source: CNA/nc

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