Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stacy's First Week in Can Tho

All smiles. New therapy equipment from the IEP team looks like fun!

Wow...our 1st week is complete! And what a week it was!

My role this week was two-fold, which keeps me quite busy. Earlier in the week, I assisted the surgeons during the screening clinics at the general hospital. In screenings, my role is to evaluate each patient, consider  their current functional abilities, and evaluate how any recommended surgery may impact their current function--from both a positive and negative point-of-view.
 
Because this is the third trip the IEP medical staff has been together, this year's screenings went quite smoothly, but the days are always challenging. This year, we saw many more children than in the past year's screening clinics. These children range in age from 2 months old to 12 years old and presented with a variety of neuromuscular challenges, including:
  • cerebral palsy
  • clubfoot deformities
  • developmental delays
  • mental retardation
  • brachial plexus injuries
  • spina bifida
  • polydactyly (additional fingers/toes)
For many of these children, surgery wasn't an option and would not benefit them, so I invited many of them to come to the Children's Hospital in Can Tho on Thursday to be seen by Amy Levin, Speech-Language Pathologist, and myself, a Physical Therapist, with the Vietnamese therapists as well.  Excitingly, 11 of the 13 children I invited actually came to see us and we were able to give each family a set of activities and exercises to work on with their infant or child. 

We were also able to demonstrate many treatment techniques and answer the many questions of the Vietnamese therapists at the Children's Hospital, as well as see a number of their own regular patients. They were quite excited with the toys and therapy equipment we brought for them to keep. 

After spending Monday at the Can Tho Children's Hospital, Amy and I will travel back to Saigon to spend three days working at the Pediatric Hospital #1.

It has been a great trip so far and as always, I feel I have learned so much not only from the other IEP team members, but most importantly from the Vietnamese families and children and the staff at the hospitals. ~Stacy Lerner

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