Renée departed for Lao PDR 2/9/03, and after flying from Raleigh to Detroit to Tokyo to Bangkok to Vientiane, she arrived on 2/11/03. Jordan joined her 2/21/03 in Vientiane, the capital of Lao, for a week. We then spent a couple days in Luang Nam Tha in the north of Lao and 5 days in Hà Nôi, Viêt Nam, before heading back home through Bangkok 3/9 and 3/10/03.
Health Frontiers, a charitable organization involved in health care concerns around the world, is responsible for coordinating the Pediatrics and Internal Medicine residencies of the National University of Lao PDR Faculty of Medical Sciences, in affiliation with Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Through this organization, Renée was able to do a rotation in both medicine and pediatrics in Lao. She worked primarily in Mahosot Hospital in Vientiane, but visited other hospitals as well.
Renée and Jordan stayed in one of the two houses that Health Frontiers rents, a few blocks away from the hospital and within walking distance of downtown restaurants and shops. Leila Srour, the pediatrics residency coordinator, and her husband, Bryan Watt, an electrical engineer/professional photographer/and all around handyman, lived in the house where we stayed. A couple houses down the street is the main project house, where Rory and Margareta Ramsey live, the internal medicine residency coordinator and his wife, an ICU nurse-turned-project assistant and PR coordinator.
Lest you conjure up images of hardship in this developing country, during their time in Vientiane, Jordan and Renée had flushing toilets, air conditioning, and hot water for showers during most of their stay, along with delicious lunches made by Ning, administrative support from Sou, and laundry and cleaning done by Noe! There are, of course, many Lao without all these amenities. We did encounter our share of squat toilets, and in Luang Nam Tha, there is only electricity from dusk until about 10 pm.
The following pages show a few of our photos of the Lao countryside, the wonderful people we met, the patients and doctors Renée had the privilege of working with, and Viêt Nam highlights. Finally, we included web links and a link to the powerpoint presentation Renée gave at UNC Internal Medicine morning report.
PowerPoint presentation given at Internal Medicine Morning Report 3/18/03 - this is modified from the actual presentation in two ways. The photos have all been removed to make the file smaller, but you can see the pictures on this website. Also, we did an expanded case presentation of the patient with the GI bleeding, with differential diagnoses offered by the residents present.