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REI Medical Outlook 2018

Updated: Feb 17, 2019

REI works in five strategic sectors in Vietnam (Medical, Agriculture, Social Work, Business Education and English Education). Of these, our medical work has the greatest number of short-term volunteer teams. What do we foresee for 2018?

We are always looking for new opportunities to advance health care. As we write this, longtime volunteer Duke University’s Dr. Walter Lee, in conjunction with Dr. Tan of Sing Health and other partners from National University of Singapore are in Hanoi, performing trials on their flexible laryngoscope, which, when perfected, will be manufactured in Vietnam at a low cost, and will enable earlier diagnoses of throat cancers. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the chances of a successful cure. This laryngoscope has the potential of saving hundreds of lives. Dr. Walter will also do consultations on Operational Improvement in four different hospitals.

In early February a small team of cardiac electrophysiologists will visit Hanoi to explore possibilities of service in Vietnam. Cardiac electrophysiology, for those of us out of that particular loop, is the science of diagnosing and treating the electrical activities of the heart. This survey team will visit Hanoi Medical University Hospital, National Children’s Hospital and Bach Mai Hospital, to discuss current programs and needs in those institutions.

What’s next? In late February a small ENT team, Dr. Craig Hedges and Dr. Marty Trott, will serve at the National ENT Hospital, Hospital E, and Vietnam-Cuba Hospital in Hanoi, coming alongside their counterparts there to assist them in their consultations and surgeries. Dr. Marty describes himself as a practitioner rather than an academician, and is eager to get down to the practical, hands-on work with our Vietnamese colleagues. This will be his second trip to Vietnam with REI. Dr. Craig, as you may recall, was part of the original REI survey trip to Vietnam in 1992 and has made 26 trips into Vietnam! This trip will be number 27—an REI record.

In early March OB-GYN specialist Dr. Laura Bishop will serve in Hanoi and Hue for 10 days, accompanied by two of her nursing colleagues as well as her daughter. Among other topics, they plan to address the issues of perinatal quality and bleeding in the obstetric patient.

Another March team is Dr. Brent Senior’s ENT Team, which will invest one week in Ho Chi Minh City from March 19-23. This team is comprised of academicians as well as practitioners, so there will be a series of lectures presented at multiple hospitals, addressing developments in the area of ENT, discussing difficult cases with our Vietnamese compatriots, and giving hands-on demonstrations of surgical techniques in the OR. This year we currently have around 15 volunteers planning to serve. Our ENT program is the most developed among the 20 or so medical specialties we have been able to offer over the years.

After a summer hiatus, Dr. Austin Raunikar will lead our Pediatrics Team to National Children’s Hospital for two weeks in October. Cardiology and neonatology will be areas of emphasis but additional pediatric specializations are welcomed as well.

The last two weeks of October will see Dr. Elaine Goehner lead our Nurses Education Team for a week each in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Dr. Elaine and her colleague, Dr. James Miser, will primarily focus on patient safety in several of our partner hospitals, while other nurse volunteers train their counterparts in a number of different hospital departments. Our longtime friend and ICU nurse Ms. Kathie Cowie also looks to serve for four to six weeks this fall in Hanoi at the Medical University Hospital and Viet Duc Hospital, training nursing staff in evaluation and technique.

In addition, REI hosts plan to receive four J-1 Fellowships for Hanoi nurses for several weeks in southern California, two of whom will receive training in Advanced Wound Care and two more who will receive training in IV and Central Line Management.

So we’re looking forward to a busy year in the area of health care! We are thankful for all who come to serve and to train, as we build people to build their nation, and thankful too for those who cannot come (at least this year!) but who support this work of service through their financial support.

Here’s to a healthier, happier 2018!

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