Medical Mission in Vietnam: Surgeries, Day 2

The team completed surgeries for another eight patients on Friday, bringing us to 16 patients treated so far. We also reviewed a few new cases during the surgical days and added more patients to our schedule for next week. Friday's procedures included:
  • 9-year-old girl: bony procedure
  • 9-year-old girl: soft-tissue procedure, bi-lateral
  • 13-year-old girl: soft-tissue procedure
  • 17-year-old girl: bony and soft-tissue procedures, 
  • 24-year-old man: soft-tissue procedure
  • 27-year-old woman: scar revision from childhood burn
  • 50-year-old woman: bony procedure
  • 71-year-old woman: Achilles tendon repair
We schedule the children earliest in the day because the whole process is most stressful for them. Not only are they unable to eat after midnight, but they're away from their families until they're moved into the patient wards after post-op recovery. The operating rooms are cold with bright lights and everyone there is wearing scrubs, caps, and masks. Add in a mix of languages and it's a lot to handle for anyone, especially children.

Prior to the surgeries, several from our team visited Thursday's surgical patients to check on their status. One of the patients had a very uncomfortable night and needed an adjustment to her cast to reduce pressure. Madison, Mai, and Devin were happy to see her first smiles after their visit. Laughter is truly good medicine.

The patient wards are very basic with up to eight beds in a room with a shared bathroom. Families bring bedding for the patients and are responsible for bringing food as well. Parents distribute medication for pediatric patients, while the adults manage their own. Can Tho Central General Hospital has grown from 1000 beds to 1300 in just the two years since we were last year. The hospital's technology is also constantly improving, especially in the orthopedic department according to the hospital director.

On Friday night, the team was treated to a wonderful dinner at the home of one of the surgical technicians we have worked with for several years. He and his family were wonderful hosts and the team was honored to be invited into this home. 

During the weekend, most of the group has taken advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some excursions to learn more about the culture and environment around Can Tho. Everything we learn and experience brings us closer to our patients and the people of the Mekong Delta.