Written by Hamad Zafar, DPM, PGY-2 at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Podiatric Surgery Residency Program while on Global Health rotation…
Written by Jesse Yurgelon, DPM (A second year Podiatric Surgery Resident at Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara while on Kaiser Permanente Residency Global Health Program Rotation in Da Nang, Vietnam at Da Nang Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital.)
By far one of the most interesting and difficult to get used to experience in Vietnam has been taking a taxi anywhere in the city. I have seen pictures and tv shows of the thousands of Motos, with often multiple passengers, navigating the streets, but being in the middle of it is an entirely different experience.
Despite the number of Motos/cars/bikes and people it is a very seamless adventure through the city. Rarely have we stopped when going to our destination as a gentle horn lets people know we’re coming. The number of accidents we have witnessed at this point has been none despite any traffic signals, lights or “rules.” The best way to describe the situation is the best title for this post…..controlled chaos.
As we flew over 7000 miles to perform surgery on those in need, we consistently operate in similar conditions. Surgery can be described as a unique type of controlled chaos. Patients entrust us to make the best decisions to help them with their ailments.
We have seen a diverse amount of patients with pathology that we often read about and only rarely see back home in the states. We have also had many cases that you cannot read about. The ability to have access to medical care is certainly not taken for granted by the Vietnamese people. We are always greeted by smiling faces of appreciation with every patient we have encountered.
The amount of learning that has occurred and continues to occur is priceless. A sample of the many different cases we have seen below. The skills we have acquired during our training are pushed to the limit, as we often need to be somewhat creative to get the desired outcome to help the patient on the operating room table.
The surgical staff and doctors that we have had the opportunity to work with are extremely gifted people and a great pleasure to work with. Every single person is so eager to help with anything they can as well as continually learning to know how they can make the next case go smoother for the patient.
The experiences and opportunities that we have here on this short visit not only benefit the people directly involved but will continue to benefit others as we return home. This has truly been an experience that has benefit me in the short by the time I spent there but will continue to be beneficial in the future as I can one day help patients based on the time spent in Vietnam.
Beautiful My Kne Beach Sunrise
At the end of a long week of surgery, we did have the opportunity to do some sight seeing and explore the city. The beaches were incredible and most of all the people were incredible. Everywhere we went we were greeted with smiles and anybody was eager to help when we were lost. I hope this will not be a once in a lifetime opportunity as I plan to advocate not only for global health, but also that it may be something that I can continue to contribute to in the future.