Notes from the Field: Hue, Vietnam – Part 2
Lawrence Jenkins, II, M.D. , an IVUmed resident scholar, volunteered with our general urology workshop in Hue, Vietnam on March 10-22, 2014. This is the second half of selections from his field notes:

Notes from the Field:  Hue, Vietnam

 

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Day 5

There was a ceremony with the university directors and urology senior staff where Dr. Hampton was given the title of Visiting Professor. It was nice yet very formal and Dr. Petrossian and I received small wooden plaques with the university and hospital name on it to commemorate our trip. Drs. Hampton and Petrossian left to go back to the US.

Day 5-7 – I took a bus to Hoi An, which was 4 hours south of Hue. I arrived in town at night and went into town to see a lantern festival where they turn off the lights and businesses only use candlelight and lanterns, and people place paper lanterns in the river. The next day, I took a tour to My Son Holy land, a sanctuary dating from the 4th to 13th centuries. We stopped at island on the way back to see sculptures and carvings being made. Later, I walked around the old town for a bit, then found a cooking class and made some delicious meals. In the morning before leaving I took an 8.7 mile / 14 km bike ride into the countryside and saw life outside of the tourist area.

 

Day 8

I met Dr. Kahan, from New Hampshire, who was the faculty mentor for the second week. This was his fifth or sixth trip to Hue. There were several open stone surgeries that day, one renal and two ureteral. The technique that the Vietnamese doctors had was superb and they were able to efficiently remove the stones without unnecessary manipulation. The afternoon surgeries were performed in the same room and at the same time as a general surgery case, which is unheard of in the US at the present time with infection concerns.

 

Day 9

We performed another nephrectomy, this was for a kidney with chronic infections. That evening the urology staff took us out for dinner and drinks. It was fun and we were able to socialize not only about urology but about life in Vietnam vs life in the US.

 

Day 10

We did 2 percutaneous nephrolithotomies with new renal access gained with the assistance of fluoroscopy. Both were for lower pole stones. The only method they have available for lithotripsy is laser; however, in the US we have pneumatic and ultrasonic lithotripsy as well. They were having difficulty gaining access and I was able to show a different method that I learned during residency. It felt good to be able to show them something new since they were showing me so much about open stone surgery.

 

Day 11

I did my third presentation for their morning conference. Most people seemed interested and had some good questions. We then went to see some surgeries and in the afternoon I spent some time in the clinic with one of the attendings. The clinic was one room amongst a group of many clinic rooms that likely rotated specialty. In the evening, we had a closing dinner on the river with the department. It was very nice to see everybody again and enjoy the authentic Vietnamese cuisine.

 

Day 12 – 13

Dr. Kahan left to go back to the US. I rented a scooter and rode around the countryside with one of the Vietnamese doctors, Dr Fu. We went to see several Buddhist temples and a lookout point with a great view over the Perfume River. That evening, I left for my extremely long trip back home.

Overall, it was an amazing experience that changed my perception of not only urology but the general delivery of healthcare. Seeing what they were able to do with much less equipment makes me appreciate what we have so much more. In Hue, medicine is pure, not overwhelmed by the need to order extra tests in fear of malpractice lawsuits. The Vietnamese doctors were very welcoming and I hope to go back one day.

 

 

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