happiness is…

Published: March 12, 2005
Updated: March 12, 2005

In a previous article I wrote of my involvement with ROMAC (Rotary Overseas Medical Aid to Children) and my frustration that I had felt when it was discovered that Phuong, the mother of 13 year old burn victim Giang, had traces of tuberculosis in her lungs and could not accompany Giang to Australia where he is booked to undergo remedial surgery.

The authorities in Australia found it an undesirable proposition that Giang should travel alone to Australia and there were no other relatives or close friends who are available to travel with him. We managed to keep Giang & Phuong here in HCMC for 3 days so that she could donate specimens every day which have been cultured for the last three months at the Pasteur Institute and there was a ray of sunshine last Monday when Dr. Laurie Hayward informed me that the the results are negative. It seems that the TB is inactive and maybe the Australian medical authorities will grant permission for Phuong to accompany Giang. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this one but I still have to get her down from the country again for another examination.

Meanwhile, another burn victim Le, Thi Kim Chi will finally be on her way to Hobart in Australia tomorrow where she is booked in at the Calvary hospital for surgery. It has been a long haul for 18 year old Kim Chi who was severely burned as a 7 month old baby and was given hope of going to Australia many years ago. Due to “administrative problems” Kim Chi’s case never proceeded until Bryan Mason, ROMAC’s Operations Director asked me if I would help out.

I will write further on this case after Kim Chi and her father Tanh have taken off tomorrow as there are many people who deserve mention for the help that they have given in this case. I am looking forward to seeing them walk into the terminal tomorrow after so many years of frustration, but even more than that I am looking forward to seeing Kim Chi again in 6 months after her surgery.

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