Countdown to Vietnam: Wing Ip, DPM

The IEP team is getting ready for our next mission to Vietnam in December. Over the next few weeks, we'll post thoughts from team members as they prepare. 

Today's post is from Wing Ip, DPM. This will be her fourth mission with the team.

As IEP’s 2017 Vietnam mission is approaching, I am eager and anxious to see the progress of our previous surgery patients. 

There is one patient from a previous mission who distinctively comes to mind. He was a young man who had neglected clubfoot on both feet. A lot is lost in translation, but I understood that he was the sole provider for his family, and his wife had a mental disability. 

He came to IEP to see if we could improve the quality of his life so that he would be able to work and support his family without his physical impairment.

Despite taking all the precautions for needles and blades in the operating room, accidents can happen. One of the doctors sustained a needle prick during this patient's surgery. Of course, we followed protocol to screen both the doctor and our patient for blood-borne pathogens. To everyone’s dismay, the patient came back positive for HIV. Until this needle prick, the patient didn't know he was HIV positive.

Not only did the patient have to recover from extensive foot and ankle reconstruction, he now has to battle HIV, which could also delay the healing of his surgical wounds.

I am in high hopes that he was able to get his HIV treatment, as there are drugs that can make the virus undetectable, and that he is able to walk and stand further than he did before.

I would like to see him again, knowing that he is doing well.