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WHA Day 2 "Family Friendly"

We completed our first day of work yesterday. Since we are working in the hospital at higher elevation, the weather is not so hot. The 500 bed Sao San Tun Teaching Hospital operates by mostly general medical officers, family physicians, a couple of obstetricians, one general surgeon, and one part time ophthalmologist. In addition to augmenting the hospital’ ophthalmologist, primary care and obstetric sections, WHA is also providing the hospital with neurology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, and emergency room specialists. We have been informed by the hospital staffs that we were the first foreign medical team to operate out of Sao San Tung Hospital. Our team treated 500 patients on this first day. There were 700 patients lining up to be seen by the ophthalmology department yesterday. Needless to say the waiting line was one of the longest anyone of us providers had ever seen at any clinic. Our ophthalmologist, Dr. Michael Nguyen, did his best and treated 110 patients on the first day.

Dr. Minh Nguyen, a neurologist, his wife Mai Nguyen, and his son Dang Nguyen are joining WHA from Canada. “This is the second time we are going with WHA. My husband and I had a good experience and time in Vietnam,” said Mai Nguyen. Dr. Minh said “This trip also is exciting for us. We’re so pleased to meet new as well as old friends from our previous trip. We believe that this will be a memorable trip for all of us and are thankful to WHA as well as its members on this mission.” Dang Nguyen, a Physician Assistant, added “I have been running on about 3.5 hours of sleep for the past several days, yet I don't feel it quite at all. I guess I am just really looking forward to seeing the locals and helping as much as I can.”

Dr. Minh Nguyen saw a unique case from a young poor labor worker who had felt and injured his head on the job six months ago. The patient went to the hospital but was sent home with a diagnosis of minor skull fracture and bruises. No treatment was provided. Today he has a huge mass on his head that looks something like an alien out of Star Trek (see picture). Dr. Minh Nguyen evaluated this patient and diagnosed him with acquired encephalocele. Our team was able to talk to the hospital administrator to have this patient pursued additional neurosurgical care paid by the hospital.

This was a truly remarkable second day as our team integrated and worked collaboratively with the hospital physicians and staffs as if we have been here for years.


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