We are back in Phnom Penh and starting home visits outside the city while the rest of the group is working in the hospital. Today was my first day back in the hospital since arriving from Ratanakiri. My clinical experience today was spent in the OR where I was able to witness a surgery on a patient who had been cut by a large knife or sword on both hands. It is only the second surgery I have seen, but I would like to try and compare and contrast the two. First of all the one I saw in the U.S. was an open heart surgery while the one I witness here in Cambodia was a reconstruction of the patients hands and wrists, so the surgeries had many procedural differences already. The surgery here had already started when I arrived in the OR. The surgeon started work on the left hand where he needed to fix two broken fingers through the use of screws and repairing tendons in the wrist. The same was done for the patient’s right hand as well. From what I saw everything the surgeon did for the patient here would have been done for a patient in the U.S. But like I said I have not witnessed this type of surgery yet in the United States. As for the staff in the room it was very much the same as in the U.S minus the perfusionist who is used in an open heart surgery and was not needed for this procedure. There was a first assistant who was helping the surgeon directly with the surgery whether it was cutting sutures or helping with moving the patient’s body into the correct position. There was also the anesthesiologist who monitored the patient’s vitals and another nurse assisting with supplies and lighting. Compared to the surgery I witnessed in the U.S I would say there is not much difference except for maybe the equipment here is slightly older. I left the OR feeling fascinated about how much they can repair the body after such extensive damage.
Later in the day pharmacy and nursing students went to visit a local orphanage. The purpose of the visit was to assess the children to make sure there were no underlying health issues that were going unnoticed, but also to interact with the children through games and playing. This was our second visit to this particular orphanage and both times I left feeling uplifted by the joy of the children. They have a lot of energy and were happy to see us again. In the home they live in there are around a dozen or more orphans and never once did any of us see them quarrel or argue it was incredible to see all of them get along so well with one another. The people who run the orphanage are loving to each one of them and the children are well off. Each of them goes to school during the day, they all have beds to sleep in, and they all eat dinner together. It is safe to say that these children are better off then many others we have seen during this trip. I am thankful for the people who give these children homes and the organizations that make it possible for these children to thrive in a country where so much of the youth live in extreme poverty. It is truly a blessing to be able to witness such a place.