Thursday, Sep 21st

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 27 August 2016 14:19

TIMA Cambodia Treating Patients Like Family

Written by  Wee Suan Yean, Law Xin Ying & Chan Shi Yih, Cambodia / Translated by Tan Heang Shin

Dr Song Pep (right) cares for the patients’ daily livelihood besides treating their illness. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

Through the two-day free clinic held in collaboration with Pestech International Berhad and Electrical Board of Cambodia at Krakor District of Pursat Province, a local doctor was inspired to become a member of TIMA Cambodia.


There are only two doctors, two nurses and five volunteers at the Electrical Board of Cambodia (EDC). Dr Song Pep provides consultations at the EDC from Monday to Thursday, and on Friday, he would attend to special cases and perform surgery in his own clinic, leaving the weekends free for him to conduct a free clinic in Pursat Province.

There are 11 communes in Krakor District of Pursat Province, and each commune has about ten villages. Dr Song and volunteers would cover three villages in each free clinic, treating about 200 – 300 patients each time. The free clinic has been running for ten months and Dr Song has contributed tirelessly for the mission. If he could not make it, he would find replacement so that the mission could carry on as usual.

Dr Song came into contact with Tzu Chi through the collaboration between Pestech International Berhad, EDC and Tzu Chi in holding a free clinic in the Pursat Province, Cambodia. He later joined TIMA as a member.

For the free clinic this time, medications were sourced locally as much as possible and only the rare ones were sent from Malaysia. Dr Song had certainly played a pivotal role in purchasing the medicine. He also helped to follow up on some patients and critical cases for referral to other doctors or hospitals.

Dr Song has clearly demonstrated great compassion by treating patients like his family. Not only does he cure the patients medically, but he is also concerned about the patients’ daily livelihood. His thoughtfulness is truly touching.

Helpless at times

Two volunteers could be seen holding their breath and lifting their arms when transporting Chim Channa, who had leg injury, to the consultation desk. Due to a fracture on her right leg, she had relied on her left leg and been walking with a limp.

Upon assessment, Dr Lim Lian Cheoo proposed for a surgery to prevent permanent injury since the fracture was severely displaced. However, she would like to return to her hometown in Phnom Penh first. It pained Dr Lim but there was not much he could do. He had thus referred the case to Dr Song for alternative solution.

Two years ago, Chim Channa arrived at Pursat Province in search for her husband but to no avail. And it was most unfortunate that she fell from the bike and broke her leg, which had not recovered since then. Although she gave birth to seven children, six were put up for adoption and she kept a daughter by her side. The latter is now eight years old wandering in the streets with her mother and does not receive a proper education.

After some discussion and advice with Dr Song and volunteer Nai Keng Hak, she finally agreed to do an X-ray and the photograph showed that the fracture was 8 cm long. Two operations were needed to move the bone back to its original position, 4 cm each time in different hospitals. The treatment was estimated to take one year.

Having left home for two years, Chim Channa maintained her decision to settle her child first and to get her mother to come over. To better understand her predicament, volunteers decided to visit her at home but they were led to a place presumed to be her late husband’s residence. After further checking, the neighbours claimed that they never saw her in the neighbourhood before.

Volunteers then took her back to the free clinic. A thoughtful Dr Song bought her crutches and taught her how to use them. He even tested the crutches himself and adjusted them to fit her. Keng Hak felt helpless with her refusal to accept treatment and Dr Song was worried about her daughter’s future. It was deeply regretted that the episode did not result in a desirable outcome.

Caring for patients sincerely

Twenty-five-year-old Song Sopheap suffered from epilepsy a year ago but never sought treatment. As there was no medication to treat this illness at the free clinic, Dr Song suggested that she sought treatment at the hospital. Her husband then shared about their financial difficulties. Thus, local volunteers and Dr Song specially made a trip to their home to find out more.

They later learnt that her husband is earning up to USD150 a month, which is more than enough to pay for the medical costs. The lack of treatment was largely due to ignorance about the risk of this illness.

Dr Song explained to them, “It is very dangerous if the seizure happens while riding a motorbike or boarding a boat. Learn to set aside some money for treatment. Only when you have a healthy body can you look for a job.” Upon better understanding of the risks involved, the couple agreed to seek treatment.

In facing different kinds of patients, Dr Song has provided different kinds of treatments. He is truly a great doctor indeed.



The free clinic successfully brought people from different countries and backgrounds to work together for the Cambodians. It is hoped that TIMA could be formally set up in Cambodia with Dr Song being a member of TIMA.

  

Using a chair, two volunteers carried an injured Chim Channa to the consultation desk. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]   Upon learning about the serious fracture on her right leg from Dr Lim Lian Cheoo, Chim Channa burst out crying. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

Using a chair, two volunteers carried an injured Chim Channa to the consultation desk. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
Upon learning about the serious fracture on her right leg from Dr Lim Lian Cheoo, Chim Channa burst out crying. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
The X-ray showed a fracture of 8 cm long and two operations would be required in one year. [Photograph by Lim Heng Lai]   A thoughtful Dr Song Pep showed Chim Channa how to use crutches and even adjusted them for her. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]

The X-ray showed a fracture of 8 cm long and two operations would be required in one year. [Photograph by Lim Heng Lai]
 
 
A thoughtful Dr Song Pep showed Chim Channa how to use crutches and even adjusted them for her. [Photograph by Leong Chian Yee]
 
Dr Song Pep and local volunteers specially visited Song Sopheap’s house to further understand her financial difficulties. [Photograph by Lim Heng Lai]   Song Sopheap’s husband is earning up to USD150 a month, enough to afford the medical costs. The lack of treatment was largely due to ignorance. [Photograph by Chan Shi Yih]

Dr Song Pep and local volunteers specially visited Song Sopheap’s house to further understand her financial difficulties. [Photograph by Lim Heng Lai]
 
 
Song Sopheap’s husband is earning up to USD150 a month, enough to afford the medical costs. The lack of treatment was largely due to ignorance. [Photograph by Chan Shi Yih]