On August 11, 2015, the Inpatient Department opened and admitted its first patient, a young girl with typhoid fever who required IV therapy. She came from a poor Hmong family of 21 children and traveled from several hours away for treatment. Her family was thrilled to receive the services LFHC had to offer. Following her admission, five other children were hospitalized and soon patients had filled 20 beds (though the hospital had maximum of 16 beds at the time).
The Inpatient Department treats seriously ill children who need regular medical care and 24/7 monitoring. The department sees an increasing number of referrals from district hospitals, as well as from various provinces across Laos.
The Emergency Room opened in November 2015, marking the start of 24/7 care for all children, including newborns. Patients are treated for a variety of illnesses, with infectious diseases accounting for over 80 percent of the diagnoses. Seasonal illnesses such as typhoid and dengue fever typically increase the ER caseload every year.
LFHC opened its Neonatal Unit in October 2016. This unit enables staff to better focus on the needs of newborn babies and their families to deliver intensive, compassionate care in a pleasant and quiet environment.
Newborn babies, or neonates, require special care due to a series of challenges faced in the early stages of life. During the first 28 days of life, neonates often have immature lungs, low birth weights, and an undeveloped immune system. These fragile conditions can lead to low blood sugars, low oxygen levels, chest infections, skin infections and jaundice. Doctors and nurses in the unit receive specific training in neonatal care.
The unit was expanded in 2018 as the number of neonates being admitted increased dramatically. The expanded unit is located in space in the adjacent provincial hospital — space renovated with the financial aid of generous donors.
The hospital’s Outpatient Department opened on February 11, 2015, and the staff saw 47 patients that day. As word of LFHC’s sterling reputation spread throughout the region, the number of children arriving for outpatient care quickly escalated. The department’s doctors and nurses now treat about 25,000 children each year.
As a teaching hospital, LFHC ensures that its staff is constantly upgrading their knowledge and practice of pediatrics.
LFHC’s Operating Theater opened on July 26th, 2016, with newly trained surgical team members who worked with doctors and anesthetists from all over the world to develop their skills.
The surgical team typically handles several minor procedures every day and has tackled more complicated cases as their experience and knowledge base expands. Surgeons from other hospitals perform the more complex operations.
The diagnostic imaging department opened in May 2015 with first RAD-AID team, including a radiologist, an ultrasound technician, and a radiology technician.
The department initially installed a PACS (patient archiving system), which allowed images to be uploaded and stored rather than printed from film. More recently, the department achieved the capacity to store diagnostic images to cloud computing. This enables the staff to store and access an unlimited number of diagnostic images on a secure internet platform.
The LFHC Laboratory focuses on CBC (hemoglobin tests) and rapid tests to treat frequently seen diseases such as malaria, HIV, streptococcus, dengue, and typhoid. These tests provide immediate results and help direct patient care. The Lao staff has grown to three technicians and has increased its hours to accommodate LFHC’s growing caseload.
The laboratory is also active in the operations of the Thalassemia Clinic. The lab staff made a thalassemia education book in Laos language for counseling families. The staff designed and led the teaching for an eight-month inhouse thalassemia training course for the nursing staff.
LFHC Pharmacy doesn’t just dispense drugs, it works to educate families and children on best practices, how to properly administer medication, and how to prevent future infection or illness. The Pharmacy is active in continuing education – both pharmacy and medical education.
The most common drugs dispensed by the LFHC Pharmacy include: paracetamol (painkiller), thiamine (Vitamin B1), prednisolone, folic acid and multivitamins (to treat malnutrition).