International collaboration brings hope to Vietnamese feet

June 17, 2018 - 09:00
Forty-five successful surgeries in the last two weeks and 100 more patients to go – this is what the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) has achieved so far in its seventeenth collaboration with the Việt Đức Hospital.
Dr. Justin Kane is in Việt Nam to do surgeries on local patients with lower extremity. Photo Hồ Hoàng.
Viet Nam News
Forty-five successful surgeries in the last two weeks and 100 more patients to go – this is what the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) has achieved so far in its seventeenth collaboration with the Việt Đức Hospital. A seminar, which aims to provide new information on surgical techniques to Vietnamese doctors, was sponsored by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Việt Đức Hospital, AOFAS and the Mobility Outreach International.
The seminar welcomes doctors from the US, Israel, Brazil and more than 145 Vietnamese trauma orthopedic surgeons from hospitals in Hà Nội and some northern provinces.
At the annual medical seminar in Hà Nội on surgery of the lower extremity, Hoàng Hồ had a chance to talk with Justin Kane, a dedicated doctor attending the seminar for the first time. 
Inner Sanctum: What is your impression on the seminar on Foot and Ankle Operations?
Although this was my second trip to Việt Nam, it’s the first seminar about Foot and Ankle Operations that I’ve joined in Hà Nội.
The seminar was outstanding. AOFAS is doing a really good job by holding this seminar and gathering good doctors together to help many patients.
It was exciting to see the research presented by doctors from not only the Việt Đức Hospital, but also from many hospitals in Hà Nội and some northern provinces as well. The data presented was compelling and I learned a lot. Every year I wish I had more time. I can’t wait to come back.
Inner Sanctum: Can you share your experience on your collaboration with the Viêt Đức Hospital? Were there any difficulties during your work?
It was such a wonderful hospital experience. Our Vietnamese colleagues were accommodating and provided us with a wonderful experience with meaningful teamwork. 
It was my first time at the Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital in Hà Nội. I enjoyed working with the residents from provinces. It can be more challenging when doing surgeries in the provinces. There are less resources available, making performing surgery challenging.
It’s always a challenge to provide the best care with limited resources. There is always a need for more medical equipment and newer technologies to improve patient outcomes.
Inner Sanctum: Can you say more about this year’s programme?
We have this seminar on June 2, [and after that teams of guest doctors including Dr Mario Adames, Dr Jessica Faught, Dr Kathleen McHale, Dr Raman Dega and Dr Paul Mcllvane will be on missions at the Hospital of Orthopeadics and Rehabilitation in Ba Vì District, the Việt Đức Hospital, and the Bãi Cháy General Hospital in Quảng Ninh.]
With a really tight schedule and experienced doctors from the US, Israel, Brazil and Việt Nam, we really hope to help as more than 55 patients more.
Inner Sanctum: What do you think about the importance of helping patients with their mentality, not just treating their physical health?
The emotional and mental component of disability is certainly real. By helping to improve the patients’ functionality, the goal is to increase their overall happiness and wellbeing.
And to be honest, even more than doing a surgery, seeing the patients after the surgery and watching them talk with their family is what I love.
Inner Sanctum: Can you share any story that left the biggest impression on you during your work in Việt Nam?
Last year I met a young lady with Arthrogryposis, which is general contracture of the joints.
Her situation was really bad as she couldn’t even walk with her deformed legs. She felt hopeless before meeting us. We talked about surgery options, an option was a fusion of the knee with fusion of the foot or amputation, and she wanted to think about it.
I told her I’d come back and we did the surgery this year. We had to operate on her legs as the situation was that bad and we had no other option. But after the surgery, it was a huge improvement. Her legs were stretched much straighter and she was able to walk again. When I saw her happy face. It was probably the best I felt. 
Inner Sanctum: What is your feeling about the dedication of Vietnamese doctors in learning advanced treatment techniques, especially in treating foot-ankle disease?  
In my experience until now I have worked in Yên Bái, I’ve worked in the Orthopaedic hospital, and I’ve worked in the Việt Đức Hospital.
The residents and the surgeons here are excellent and incredibly intelligent and they asked some of the smallest questions that for me, made me think how to answer.
They asked great questions, and their technique is very good, and it is the matter of… until you see it, you don’t know. So they asked the right questions when we did the surgery together and now that we did surgery together my hope is that they can teach the other people as well. — VNS

"The seminar also helped Vietnamese trauma orthopaedic surgeons and especially local doctors learn how to do scientific research at world standard level, learning the presentation skills like a reporter, and increasing their level of understanding, especially in exploring the science of diseases."
Associate Professor Dr  Ngô Văn Toàn, the Việt Đức Hospital.