Category – Medicine
A recent Gallup Poll showed that nursing is the most trusted profession in the US. Perhaps one reason is that nurses are not only well trained but that those drawn to the profession are compassionate people who have a heart to help others. REI is privileged to have two women with large hearts of compassion who are helping to advance nursing education and nursing practice in Vietnam.
It was a busy week for the team of seven otorhinolaryngologists (Ear, Nose & Throat doctors, or “ENTs”) who served in Vietnam this past March—and an adventure for Jeff Stebbins, who facilitated the trip. Jeff has a “Dr.” before his name, but he has a PhD in linguistics, not medicine. This was his first medical trip, so—besides offering his valuable skills in language, culture, logistical coordination, and ordering noodles—he was able to observe our very talented team of ENTs as they performed patient consultations, lectures, and surgeries.
What joy for family members to serve together in meaningful work! REI's February-March ENT specialty medical team had several prime examples.
Vietnamese physicians are eager to learn the latest knowledge and skills from our REI medical teams. Increasingly, they want to learn about how we in America train our specialists too. Attending physicians who bring resident physicians with them provide a valuable model of how we teach and train.
Three REI gastroenterologists conducted a major workshop for about sixty like specialists from the southern region last October. It was well organized and hosted by the University Medical Center (UMC) in Ho Chi Minh City and fabulously supported by the FujiFilm company. Much more ceremony and hoopla than we're used to, but it was well done and very effective!
You know our visiting and resident professionals are adding a lot to their Vietnamese counterparts’ professional knowledge, skill and other expertise. But that’s only half of the story!
Dr. Anh, REI-VN’s most recent fellow completed her observational fellowship with two gastroenterologists, Dr. Larry Kim from South Denver Gastroenterology, Denver, Colorado and Dr. Dick Baerg, Founder of the Tacoma Digestive Disease Center and the Tacoma Endoscopy Center. While with Dr. Kim and Dr. Baerg, Dr. Anh observed consults, follow up of patients, in-patient care, routine endoscopy procedures as well as advanced endoscopy such as ERCP (endoscopic cholangiography ) and EUS (endoscopic ultrasound). While in Washington state she and Dick Baerg also toured the UW Medicine GI facilities in Seattle. Dr. Anh is preparing for the addition of EUS capacity at her hospital in Vietnam.
Lien Tran, REI's Representative for Vietnam Relations, may be small in stature, but in every other way she is big for REI-Vietnam. Her head, hands and heart are all engaged to meet the needs of anyone who is in need of her help. This may be expressed by getting medicine for a visiting professional who is sick, taking a visiting professional to the best shop for buying embroidery pictures, visiting a sick family member of a Vietnamese friend, helping one of REI-Vietnam’s resident professional with visa issues, or waiting at Noibai airport to greet an arriving team member’s midnight arrival. When asked for help if it is within her power to do so, her answer is always “yes”.
Based on his conversation with the neurosurgeon, Dr. Brent Senior knew the patient sitting before him suffered from a non-hormone-producing tumor lodged at the base of the skull. The man endured not only extreme headaches, but as the tumor continued to grow and press against the optic nerve his vision was also fading. Surgical removal of the mass was the only option.
Senior, Professor of Otolaryngology and Neurosurgery and Chief of the UNC School of Medicine Division of Rhinology, Allergy and Sinus Surgery, has successfully completed similar procedures in his operating room in Chapel Hill with a neurosurgeon at his side. But he wasn't in Chapel Hill. He was in Vietnam, and the local neurosurgeon wasn't going to scrub in.
Some of our established medical teams in a specialty are open to doctors of other specialties also. That’s the way new things start! Such is the case with Dr. David Parsons and his fall ENT team. Last fall Dr. Eugene Keller of the Mayo Clinic joined this team and explored for good connections in oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS).
In November of 2010 Kathie Cowie co-led a small team of Nurses from the USA and Canada to Vietnam to train nurses in one of Hanoi’s prominent hospitals. She did rounds in the mornings and lectured in the afternoons, winning the hearts of both students and lecturers in the hospital.
REI sends two types of people overseas: resident professionals, who live and work in an emerging nation long-term, and visiting professionals, who spend a few weeks in a country volunteering their skills and knowledge in their various fields to local professionals.
Dr. Dick Baerg led a team of six medical doctors (two each in gastroenterology, cardiology and pulmonology/critical care) to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Oct 15-28. They worked primarily in two hospitals in each city. The gastroenterologists were returning to GI departments well-connected. One cardiologist was returning too, but the others on the team were first-timers.
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