Day 3: Surgeries Begin

The surgeons, residents, nurses, and our surgical technician headed out to Can Tho General Hospital to start the first day of surgery. There were originally eight patients scheduled, but that may shift to seven. A bit more detail on the surgeries follows:

Operating Room #1
  1. 8-year-old girl: tendon transfer
  2. 6-year-old-girl: bilateral TAL (Achilles tendon lengthening)
  3. 30-year-old woman: TAL, lateral closing wedge
  4. 7-year-old boy: bilateral TAL, posterior capsule release

Operating Room #2
  1. 6-year-old boy: peroneal tendon transfer
  2. 22-year-old man: triple, wedges, TAL
  3. 6-year-old boy: bilteral TAL

The tendon-lengthening (TAL) procedures will allow patients who can currently walk only on their toes to better flex their feet and hopefully achieve a more functional gait in which their heels can reach the ground.

Beyond the actual surgery and related treatment, patient families handle much of the post-operative care themselves within the hospital. IEP purchases and supplies the families with patient medications. Likewise, the families bring meals or purchase food from vendors in a small market outside the hospital gate. Not unlike U.S. hospitals, the surgical patients will remain in the hospital for a couple of days, but then be cared for at home by family members -- typically up to eight weeks in a cast or two casts.

Meanwhile, Amy and Stacy have been invited to a local doctor's home-based clinic to meet with families of children with autism. The doctor originally estimated there would be four patients, then ten, then more than twenty. Autisim diagnoses are still fairly new in Vietnam, as is education for both the medical community and families. Getting outside information and viewpoints on treatment and therapies is obviously a priority.