Written by Hamad Zafar, DPM, PGY-2 at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Podiatric Surgery Residency Program while on Global Health rotation…
Written by Barbara Adams, DPM, PGY-3 at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Podiatric Surgery Program while on Global Health rotation at Da Nang Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Hospital in Da Nang, Vietnam in May-June 2017.
What a wonderful week in Da Nang, Vietnam! This foot/ankle-focused surgical trip was a unique combination of foreign exploration, exposure to rare pathology, and teamwork in the OR. I can’t wait to visit Da Nang Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital again in the future!
Exploring Da Nang, Vietnam
I had two weekends and several evenings to explore Da Nang and the surrounding area. Some highlights were the trips to Hoi An, renting motor bikes, and relaxing at the beach. Hoi An is a beautiful ancient city which lights up with colorful lanterns in the evening. We strolled the picturesque streets, shopped in the custom tailor shops, and had a delicious seafood dinner with the group.
There’s a constant buzz in the streets of Da Nang from the motor bike chaos. It probably wasn’t the safest, but definitely most adventurous way to explore the city! Renting a scooter for the day only cost $6 so we rode them to the huge “Lady Buddha” overlooking the city as well as some of the nearby beaches.
Monday was our first day at Da Nang Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital. We evaluated all of the possible surgical patients in one day. No matter how many patients we already saw, it seemed there was always “still 40 patients left to see.” The unusual pathology was a combination of neglected trauma, congenital deformity, and neuromuscular disease. We got the opportunity to evaluate patients with post-polio complications and deformity from cerebral palsy. There also were several kids with congenital clubfoot who never had the opportunity to be corrected with Ponsetti casting.
Tuesday through Friday were spent in the OR. Despite the dim lights and some outdated equipment, I was so impressed with the efficiency, resourcefulness and hardworking Vietnamese staff. Some cases required creativity given the limited hardware and supplies we had, but we were able to fix fractures, fuse joints, and transfer tendons. Our team worked well together fueled on banh mi sandwiches, exotic fruit, and of course…Vietnamese coffee!!!