by Pete & Bette Greidanus
In February 2017, Bette and I spent two precious weeks in the beautiful Vietnam delta area, with Father Tien Tran, Dr. David Neima, and a full medical, dental, ophthalmology team. Our team included nurses, pharmacists, medical doctors, dentists, ophthalmologists, translators, and helpers. The weather was great, the people beautiful, the hotels very pleasant, and the work…very worthwhile.
Our dentists alleviated a lot of suffering by pulling hundreds of rotten, often infected, teeth. Our ophthalmology team provided reading, and other glasses to hundreds more that could not afford glasses, yet badly needed them. A number of patients with mature cataracts were evaluated and sent to local ophthalmologists for cataract surgery. The mission would pay the $400 USD fee for that to the Vietnamese hospital and doctors who would perform the surgery.
We met and worked in our clinics with some Vietnamese doctors. I had a case of a 37-year-old man who likely had a ruptured appendix and who had been suffering from this for three days already. A Vietnamese surgeon working with us confirmed the diagnosis and we were able to send him, at Mission expense, 40 minutes by taxi to Can Tho, the nearest city with a hospital. There he would receive the diagnostic tests and lifesaving surgery, all at mission expense.
Below is you can see the waiting line to see one of our doctors at a clinic in a Convent in the vicinity of Ben Tre.
Many people are doing well in Vietnam currently, but there are more who are very poor. Some have never seen a doctor or dentist before. An elderly gentleman who is quadriplegic was given a brand new wheelchair. A one-year-old boy with cleft lip and palate was referred for corrective surgery. More wheelchairs and canes were given where the need was great and other options limited.
An amusing case came up when a lady about 50 complained of urinary incontinence. As part of the history, I asked her through my translator, how many children she had (4), and if she had any difficulties with delivering any of them. She said proudly “No… like a chicken!” a moment of shared joy and laughter!
We saw between 500 – 700 patients daily on our clinic days, visiting 4 different rural locations. The 7 clinic days were long, but productive with the team seeing greater than 4,000 people with a wide variety of illnesses. Father Tran (and associates) kept us organized and entertained (lots of “reflections”, and good jokes on the bus rides). Did you know that Vietnam is the #2 coffee exporter in the World? That great coffee, along with the super team spirit, kept us going strong!
Medical Aid for Vietnam is a great mission opportunity. We experienced a very productive and fun two weeks.
We thank God for all of His travel and work mercies. They were new every day!
Pete & Bette Greidanus are EMAS Vietnam Team Members who serve faithfully with Medical Aid For Vietnam