Day 2 - News from Poppa Bruce

Our first day went pretty much as expected, although the weather was a bear – hot and very humid. The single room we were given for examinations was small (I paced off the room, its 10 X 12 feet). Air conditioning is the open front door and a small ceiling fan. 

Prior to beginning, we had to arrange the furniture to control the flow of people into the room, deal with paperwork, and take pictures. Since the patients wait right outside the room this process is very important because everybody wants to be first and they are all interested in seeing what is going on in this crowded area.

Tina and Amy and one interpreter were set up at the door to call each patient, record their information into a laptop, and supply them with name tags and papers for the next step. 

Once inside Devin would take five pictures for reference and then the examination would begin. Although this sounds orderly it can get a little crazy. The average examination takes about 15 minutes, but a potential candidate for surgery needs to be sent for x-rays and return for a second consultation.

It very important that patients who elect surgery are aware of recovery time – these people only stay in hospital a couple of days and must fend for themselves afterwards with recovery times of four to eight weeks and are instructed not put weight on their foot/feet. 

The team worked from 10:30 to almost 5:00, dealt with 37 patients and defined 16 surgeries. In Vietnam lunch starts at 12 noon and the workday ends at 4:30, no exceptions.

While the examinations were taking place Theresa and Fruma were sorting some of the 27 boxes of supplies and equipment that Mission Peace brought to Vietnam. Today the equipment will be separated into working sets and sterilized for the surgeries that will begin tomorrow.

Examinations will continue today and a schedule generated for the operations that will start tomorrow morning.

Just a little background, the Can Tho hospital is 105 years old and a new facility that has been in the works for a few years, is expected to be in operation in approximately 6 months.