December Newsletter: Wishing You Health and Happiness







Staff Saves 2 Babies Afflicted with Beriberi

   Beriberi is quite common in northern Laos and can be life-threatening for infants. Last month, LFHC doctors saved the lives of two critically ill babies afflicted with beriberi.

   Two-month-old Arvid Xong was close to death when his parents brought him to the hospital’s Emergency Room. As soon as he arrived, the triage nurse noted that he wasn’t breathing and a doctor found that he also had no pulse. The team immediately started to resuscitate him, using CPR, adrenaline, fluids and antibiotics. They quickly determined that he was solely breastfed by his mother who was on a restrictive diet, so they administered thiamine (vitamin B1) as well.

   One hour after arrival, Arvid was stable and breathing, supported by our CPAP machine. In the ensuing days, Arvid steadily improved. He was discharged after two weeks and will be followed up in the hospital’s Development Clinic, but it is hoped that he will develop normally.

   The other case involved 2-month-old Thai Lee, who came to LFHC close to cardiac arrest. Following resuscitation protocols, the team supported his breathing, performed CPR and administered adrenaline. Doctors also quickly administered intravenous vitamin B1 after noting that Thai was exclusively breastfed, was in shock and had an enlarged liver.

   Thai recovered but a few minutes later, he arrested. He was given CPR and adrenaline, and this time he recovered and stabilized. The CPAP machine was used to support his breathing. He was given Intravenous medication to support his blood pressure and antibiotics to cover for the possibility of infection. He was discharged five days later, after completing a course of antibiotics.

   These two cases illustrate the importance and effectiveness of pediatric resuscitation training, and show how our team is able to transfer that training to their clinical practice, work together and do everything that they can to save their patients.

   Read more about treating Arvid and Thai here.

Outreach Team Helps Local Orphanage

   The hospital’s Outreach Team recently helped a local orphanage battle an outbreak of scabies among its children.

   The problem came to the attention of our staff when one of the orphans was brought to LFHC after scratching rashes to the extent that she developed wounds that became infected. Scabies is a contagious skin condition caused by microscopic mites.

   The Outreach Team conducted a lecture on scabies at the orphanage, which is about a ten-minute drive from Luang Prabang. Medications were applied to all the children and the orphanage staff immediately washed all linens, mattresses and clothing.

   The orphanage is one of the few that exist in Laos and is operated by the Lao government.

Outreach Team Gains Social Worker

   The hospital has hired a social worker to join the Outreach Team.

   Bounmy Ly (left in the photo), began his new position at the hospital by mentoring with Child Life Therapist Kongmeng Sialee (right in photo). The mentorship will provide Bounmy insights into the practice of compassionate care, which is a hallmark of the medical treatment offered at the hospital, explained Outreach Program Director Kazumi Akao. Bounmy’s position at LFHC is his first hospital job.

    Welcome Bounmy!

Former Nursing Director Returns

   Matt Evans, former Director of Nursing at LFHC, has returned to the hospital to serve once again in that position on an interim basis.

   Matt has held the position of Medical Director at Confirm Testing in London, England, for the past six months and prior to that was a Health Project Manager for Terre das Hommes in Bangladesh for six months.

   He served as LFHC’s nursing director from October 2016 to November 2018. Prior to that, he spent five months as a volunteer nurse at the hospital.

   Welcome back, Matt!

Cyclists Raise $17K for Neonatal Unit

   Team Dai, an international cycling community based in Vientiane, made a $17,000 donation to LFHC this month — money raised by team members who bicycled nearly 250 miles (400 km) to support Lao organizations.

   Twenty-seven riders made the trek from Viengkham to Thakhek, in four days. They peddled up mountains, crossed wobbly bridges and traversed picturesque rice fields.

   The donation from the team’s 2020 Challenge Ride will support the hospital’s Neonatal Unit. The money will be used to purchase six 50 ml syringe pumps and one bed warmer.

   Team Dai has raised nearly $200,000 for Lao community organizations since organizing its first fundraising ride in 2008.

   Many thanks to Team Dai!

Caseload Update

   November proved to be a busy month for LFHC’s doctors and nurses. More than 1,990 children were brought to the Outpatient Department and another 1,248 children were treated in the Emergency Room. The Development Clinic welcomed 12 new children, bringing its total caseload to 31 patients. The Neonatal Unit staff cared for 58 infants during November.