Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why I Keep Going Back to Vietnam

Bruce Lehnert, DPM
I go back to Vietnam again and again because of my connection with the people of the Mekong Delta. Meeting up with the doctors in Vietnam whom I've now known for more than a decade is really wonderful.

Our medical mission has become much larger over time. It started in 1998 with just two residents and myself. This year, our mission team grew to 34 people with more doctors, nurses, physical therapist, documentary filmmaker, donors, writer, and children of team members.

This year we were a well-oiled operation and it worked perfectly. The biggest challenge is always the language barrier. No matter how many times we do these trips, we can never learn Vietnamese.



The last patient in 2010 had never
walked, but fixing his lower legs
could help him be more mobile.


The most rewarding part of these trips is when past patients return to visit us. I love seeing the patients whose lives have been transformed in previous years.

One of the most memorable parts of this year's trip came on our first day of patient screening. In 2010, we operated on a kid who was our Hail Mary case. He had never walked and we were unsure whether he ever would, even if we corrected his lower extremity deformities. He was the last case I operated that year. Guess what? He walked in on his own two feet in 2012 to say thank you!

~ Bruce Lehnert, DPM

December 31, 2012: The first patient at screening was
2010's final patient. Not just more mobile, walking!



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