February Newsletter: Treating Infant Infection







Staff Treats Boy’s Chronic Kidney Condition

   Twelve-year-old Vee Wang was struggling to breathe when he was admitted to LFHC earlier this month. Our Lao doctors found that a large amount of fluid had collected in his chest, compromising his breathing.

   The doctors were able to drain the fluid, which immediately relieved Vee’s labored breathing. They learned that the boy had a three-year history of recurrent swelling of his legs and abdomen. Their diagnosis: a kidney condition called nephrotic syndrome, which caused him to retain fluid.

   As the underlying problem is loss of protein via the kidneys, the team also gave him infusions of a substance called 20% albumin to raise the level of protein in the blood. This helps the fluid in his legs and abdomen to cross back into the bloodstream, thus reducing the swelling. He is now recovering nicely.

   Vee’s type of nephrotic syndrome is likely complicated and chronic and he will need long-term medication and follow-up as an outpatient. We see several patients with this condition each year and so the Lao team is experienced in diagnosing and managing it. The homecare team is routinely involved in the discharge, planning and follow-up care for our nephrotic syndrome patients and the nutrition team provides important nutritional education for parents.

Most Common Diagnosis in Neonatal Unit: Neonatal Sepsis

   Neonatal sepsis, a bacterial bloodstream infection, is the most common diagnosis in newborns admitted to the Neonatal Unit. The infection is the primary diagnosis in 42% of the unit’s patients, according to the most recent data from the hospital. This is in keeping with a recent study that found that 48% of neonates admitted to provincial hospitals in Laos had sepsis or other infections.

   Antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment. Many babies also need supportive care, including intravenous fluids and/or glucose, assistance with breastfeeding and sometimes oxygen or CPAP to support breathing. Almost all babies make a full recovery and their long-term prognosis is usually excellent.

   Neonatal sepsis is the third leading cause of neonatal deaths worldwide. Thanks to your support, the Neonatal Unit is making a significant contribution to neonatal survival in Laos.

   Read more here.

LFHC Meets Challenges to Medical Education Posed by Pandemic

   As a teaching hospital, LFHC continuously provides medical training to its physicians, nurses and healthcare providers. However, the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus did have an impact on medical education at the hospital.

The doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, who came from other countries to volunteer as teachers and mentors at LFHC, returned to their home countries when the Lao government imposed strict travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Despite their absence, medical education at the hospital continues. LFHC clinical managers and senior Lao staff are teaching a variety of clinical topics (Child Life Therapist Kongmeng Sialee, pictured here, demonstrates comfort positioning for children). And several of the ex-pat volunteers are conducting online sessions for our hospital staff on such topics as laboratory analysis, nutrition and pharmacology.

It is also noteworthy that there has been no interruption in the hospital’s Pediatric Training Program, a new curriculum-based program for staff physicians developed by Medical Education Director Dr. Rathi Guhadasan. The three-year training program, comparable to a pediatric residency, culminates in a Certificate of Pediatrics.

  Caseload Update

   January proved to be a busy month for LFHC doctors and nurses. Nearly 1,200 children were brought to the Emergency Room and another 1,535 children were treated in the Outpatient Department. Forty-four infants were admitted to the Neonatal Unit and 233 children were cared for as inpatients in the hospital during the month.