Screening Day – Thanh Hoa, 2017

What an awesome screening day! From bouquets to fist bumps and kisses, we were warmly welcomed by hospital leadership and families. Turnout was great, and we screened nearly 60 patients in less than six hours. Strong collaboration with the CSI team and local hospital staff resulted in low wait times for children and their families and a smooth-sailing screening day. Thirty children are scheduled for life-changing urological surgeries this week. Many patients returned from previous missions for follow-up and got a clean bill of health and are doing very well. What a treat to see familiar faces.

The OR and anesthesia team worked hard today getting prepared for the first surgery day tomorrow. You can imagine what goes into setting up a pediatric operating room. Thanks to well-planned packing from Minnesota and expert CSI team members, they make it happen!

Some of the CSI team members attended a local church this evening. They were recognized as guests and foreign health workers during the two-hour Mass and were even treated to a home-cooked meal by the church caretaker. All the food is grown/raised in their region. Spicy ginger beef with cabbage and scallions, crab, minced vole (not mole, even smaller guys) on rice cakes and clam soup. A great way to prepare for the first day of surgery tomorrow!

Musings from CSI volunteer surgeon, Dr. Donald Nguyen:

I am doing it, finally, taking a plunge into a vast unknown adventure. I am going back to Vietnam on a surgery mission trip to lend my skills and trade to help children and babies with urological conditions in the country where I was born!

In the much larger scheme of the universe, my contribution to solve the healthcare situation in Vietnam probably amounts to a tiny sliver of hope for these children where their country’s health care expenditure is minuscule compared to the US. But I must, even when it’s only a few babies in a week’s time that can receive an operation that may affect them and their lives positively.

There will also be children and parents who will be met with utter disappointment and hopelessness because a mission team can only do so much without a high technological and extensive post operative care that these far advanced and complex cases require.

Because of the multi-year commitment of CSI volunteer teams, along with the implementation of strong teaching initiatives, we are encouraged that more Vietnamese children will continue to receive high quality surgical card from local surgeons, pediatricians and nurses.

For more photos – click here.