Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Over the past three years, many Vietnamese patients suffering from bone-related illnesses have been able to return to a normal life and have hope for the future thanks to the help of a Vietnamese-French doctor.
Every three months, 67-year-old professor, doctor, René D. Esser of Polyclinique du Ternois Hospital’s Orthopedic Trauma Department in France, travels thousands of kilometres to Thống Nhất General Hospital in the southern province of Đồng Nai to perform free medical examinations and treatment for many difficult cases of osteoarthritis.
Graduated from the Medical University of Paris in 1975, Dr. Esser began his career in Germany.
In 1995, Esser decided to return to work in France. After gaining a lot of experience over years, he has actively sought out charity surgery programmes and ended up working with Thống Nhất General Hospital.
"For successful treatment of injuries related to bone illnesses, surgery is only part of the doctor’s job. Monitoring the recovery process is always necessary, it is crucial to the recovery of the patient. However, many hospitals in Việt Nam are not much interested in rehabilitation, they only focus on surgery,” Esser said.
During his time in Việt Nam, Dr. Essser has performed many surgeries and assisted many people who seemingly were only able to live on the help of relatives and family members. There are many high-tech surgeries that big hospitals in Việt Nam have not yet performed.
Recently, at Thống Nhất General Hospital, he successfully performed surgery for an 18-year-old patient injured in a traffic accident in Long Khánh Town.
A section of bone from her right femur was cut after being broken in the accident, resulting in her right leg becoming shorter than the left by about 2.5cm.
After six surgeries in hospitals around HCM City, Nguyễn Phương Nhi still could not walk and had to live with the help of relatives.
At present, she can walk alone after Dr. Esser conducted surgery to add 1cm to her right foot bone.
"Professor René D. Esser promises to come back to perform further surgery for me. I just have to undergo another procedure to stretch the bone to balance my two legs in order to able to walk normally,” Nhi said.
“Thanks to the professor, I have more hope and a new chance at life. I will have more opportunities to study and make my dreams come true," she said.
Despite treatment for many cases, he does not forget anyone, especially in cases of severe illness, he often keeps in touch to know the resilience of each patient.
In the case of Nguyễn Thanh Hà, she struggled with walking for 28 years due to the effects of Agent Orange.
Doctors refused to perform surgery on her many times.
After receiving two procedures from Dr. Esser, she can now walk and owns a hair salon shop in the northern Hải Phòng City, which also offers free vocational training for hundreds of young people with disabilities.
This is just one of the few life-saving surgeries for poor patients that Dr. Esser had made during his time in Việt Nam.
He also said that many hospitals in Việt Nam, especially provincial hospitals, still lacked modern equipment in the treatment and surgery of bone-related diseases, so there were many limitations in dealing with difficult cases. He often brings equipment from France to help Vietnamese doctors perform surgeries and share his experience with them.
Not only Thống Nhất General Hospital, Dr. Esser has also co-operated with other hospitals in Việt Nam such as Orthopedic Trauma, Chợ Rẫy, Nhân Dân 115 (People 115), Nhân Dân Gia Định (People Gia Định), and others.
Nguyễn Tường Quang, head of the Orthopedic Trauma Department at Thống Nhất General Hospital, said many local residents often gathered at the hospital with the desire to be treated by Dr. Esser when he came to Việt Nam.
Doctors also often exchanged information with him to find the best treatment for patients when they faced difficult cases related to bone illnesses.
Working with Dr. Esser, the doctors in the hospital not only learned professional knowledge but also learned from him the sincerity and empathy with poor patients, said Quang. - VNS