Interning In Viet Nam
By: Marla Ferschl

On April 20, 2004, two of my classmates and I headed to Vietnam to do medical volunteer work. As fourth year medical students, we were excited to learn about international medicine before graduation. Our volunteer opportunity at the French-Vietnamese Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Marla, Olivia & Sue Jin
BSTTW
Translations
was coordinated by the non-profit organization "Burn Survivors Throughout The World, Inc." under the direction of Michael Appleman, CEO.

The French-Vietnamese hospital is located in District 7 of Ho-Chi Minh City. We were surprised to learn that the hospital is a state-of-the-art facility, especially for Vietnam. It had a CT-scanner, ultrasound capabilities, ICU, NICU, several operating rooms and several floors of inpatient services. It was built about a year ago, costing $40 million dollars. It is 100% foreign owned. As with all the hospitals in Vietnam, it operates under a fee-for-service model. Therefore, the patient demographics usually included rich Vietnamese or foreign business employees residing in Vietnam. I was surprised to see that many of the patients chief complaints were similar to ones seen in the US-diabetes, hypertension, acid reflux, etc. However, one difference was the amount of time that patients
French-Vietnamese Hospital
traveled to see a doctor-on average, patients came from 500 miles away!

The attending doctors were mainly from France. They spoke with the patients through an interpreter. One of the internal medicine attendings learned Vietnamese and was able to communicate without one. In addition, they hired specialists from France to come to Vietnam for two-week intervals. As volunteers, we were placed in different departments.

Marla worked in the internal medicine outpatient clinics, Olivia worked in the "A & E" (Accidents and Emergencies) Department and Suejin worked in the pediatrics outpatient clinics. Marla worked under Dr. Chantal, Sue Jin worked under Dr. DeCamps and Olivia worked with several different ER attendings. Since we were mainly working with affluent patients, we saw a lot of the same problems as in the US (obesity, type II diabetes, etc).

In summary, it was not only an interesting experience to see how the wealthy are treated in developing countries but also fascinating to see how medicine is truly an international language that can unite everyone! The BSTTW Medical Internship Program,
Olivia & Sue Jin
the French-Vietnamese Hospital and our travel in Viet Nam, is an experience that was completely different from what all three of us ever expected. Overall this experience and the help offered by Nguyen Cong Thien, BSTTW Representative - Viet Nam was fantastic and will be remembered forever.

On April 20, 2004, two of my classmates and I headed to Vietnam to do medical volunteer work. As fourth year medical students, we were excited to learn about international medicine before graduation. Our volunteer opportunity at the French-Vietnamese Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam was coordinated by the non-profit organization "Burn Survivors Throughout The World, Inc." under the direction of Michael Appleman, CEO. The French-Vietnamese hospital is located in District 7 of Ho-Chi Minh City. We were surprised to learn that the hospital is a state-of-the-art facility, especially for Vietnam. It had a CT-scanner, ultrasound capabilities, ICU, NICU, several operating rooms and several floors of inpatient services. It was built about a year ago, costing $40 million dollars. It is 100% foreign owned. As with all the hospitals in Vietnam, it operates under a fee-for-service model. Therefore, the patient demographics usually included rich Vietnamese or foreign business employees residing in Vietnam. I was surprised to see that many of the patients chief complaints were similar to
Olivia, Dr. Biset Sue Jin & Marla
ones seen in the US-diabetes, hypertension, acid reflux, etc. However, one difference was the amount of time that patients traveled to see a doctor-on average, patients came from 500 miles away!

The attending doctors were mainly from France. They spoke with the patients through an interpreter. One of the internal medicine attendings learned Vietnamese and was able to communicate without one. In addition, they hired specialists from France to come to Vietnam for two-week intervals. As volunteers, we were placed in different departments. Marla worked in the internal medicine outpatient clinics, Olivia worked in the "A & E" (Accidents and Emergencies) Department and Sue Jin worked in the pediatrics outpatient clinics. Marla worked under Dr. Chantal, Suejin worked under Dr. DeCamps and Olivia worked with several different ER attendings. Since we were mainly working with affluent patients, we saw a lot of the same problems as in the US (obesity, type II diabetes, etc).

In summary, it was not only an interesting experience to see how the wealthy are treated in developing countries but also fascinating to see how medicine is truly an international language that can unite everyone! The BSTTW Medical Internship Program, the French-Vietnamese Hospital and our travel in Viet Nam, is an experience that was completely different from what all three of us ever expected. Overall this experience and the help offered by Nguyen Cong Thien, BSTTW Representative - Viet Nam was fantastic and will be remembered forever.

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