Young doctor cares about children’s ‘defective smiles'

February 27, 2023 - 08:00

But it is his enthusiasm and dedication that really spreads a positive energy to all those around him who can clearly see his passion for his profession as well as his love for his patients and the community he serves.

Nguyễn Trung Nghĩa in a surgery helping a child with harelip and cleft palate. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — People who have met Nguyễn Trung Nghĩa, a doctor from the Maxillofacial Surgery Ward under the Việt Nam - Cuba Friendship Hospital, immediately notice his bright eyes and gentle smile.

But it is his enthusiasm and dedication that really spreads a positive energy to all those around him who can clearly see his passion for his profession as well as his love for his patients and the community he serves.

Nghĩa, 35, graduated from the medicine and dentistry faculty at the University of Nantes in France.

He continued to specialise in odonto-stomatology at the Hà Nội Medical University and has worked at the Việt Nam-Cuba Friendship Hospital for six years.

During the COVID-19 pandemic – an unforgettable memory for all, Nghĩa did not mind hardships and embraced the challenges.

With the enthusiasm of a youth, he volunteered to set up a team providing food and healthcare advice for people in Chương Dương Ward, Hoàn Kiếm District in Hà Nội.

Not only dedicated to instructing volunteers and people in the quarantine area about pandemic prevention skills plus taking care of themselves and their families, Nghĩa is also a "spiritual leader". He encouraged everyone to be calm and work together to overcome the difficult period.

Understanding the difficulties patients may face when hospitals lack blood for treatment, over the years, Nghĩa has donated his own blood. Every three months, he shares his blood with unfortunate patients who need transfusions.

"For patients, especially those with blood diseases, every drop of blood is precious to help them maintain their life,” he said.

“Every time I donate blood I want to send my love to the patients. I do not know who they are but I always feel happy when my blood can bring life to others.

“I also want to spread my wish to many people, especially healthy young people, to actively participate in blood donations to help the less fortunate than themselves have a chance to live.”

Nghĩa is an active member of a youth blood donation club of Hoàn Kiếm District. He has always joined blood donation campaigns and actively encouraged relatives, friends, and youth union members to participate.

Children’s bright smile

Bringing bright smiles to unlucky children with harelips and cleft palates is Nghĩa’s biggest devotion.

From an early age, Nghĩa followed his father, who was also a maxillofacial surgeon at the Việt Nam - Cuba Hospital, on his late shifts.

Little Nghĩa at that time would sit quietly and observe his father’s work.

He witnessed his father and colleagues examining babies with facial deficiencies.

Sometimes he felt a bit scared when he saw the deformed babies with distorted smiles, crying in the arms of their parents.

Those images always haunted him. He asked his father hundreds of why questions about those babies. His dad patiently explained and took him to see the children after surgery.

Miraculously Nghĩa saw the bright smiles on those babies' faces, cured at the hands of his father.

Since then, he was determined to become a maxillofacial surgeon to bring happiness and bright smiles to unfortunate babies with birth defects.

The Việt Nam-Cuba Friendship Hospital, where Nghĩa works, has implemented the smile surgery programme supported by Operation Smile since the early days of 1989.

Since then, more than 62,000 paediatric patients were helped to correct cleft lip and palate for free and returned to normal life.

Nghĩa has performed many surgeries for children with deformities.

He said that every year, about 2,000 children are born with cleft lip and palate defects.

This malformation not only affects the children's eating and drinking, easily causing the child to choke and have slurred speech, but also physical pain.

Many parents spend their whole lives tormented, blaming themselves for giving birth to children without a complete smile.

Most of those children are from very poor families, are ethnic groups in remote areas, extremely difficult areas to access health services. 

Therefore, not only actively performing free surgeries for children with deformities, Nghĩa also always study the patients' situation to help them in his ability.

He also actively contacted sponsors to help poor children, especially ones of ethnic groups in remote areas.

Nghĩa is always busy, he doesn't even have time for himself and his family, but for him, every time he sees a bright smile on the child's face he gets an overwhelming feeling of happiness.

That is the motivation for him to be steadier on the journey to find smiles and bring happiness to children and their families — VNS