Journey after Genocide

Journey after Genocide

Every once in a while, a patient comes through our doors who profoundly touches our hearts. 79 year-old Pov Samorn is one of those patients.

Samorn with his son, Ponlok, after his amputation

Samorn was married to the love of his life, the beautiful Semeun, for over 40 years, and their love is nothing less than miraculous. The two met by forced marriage at the hands of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. The practice was commonly used as a way to destroy family unity and propagate a labor workforce. But not only did Samorn and Semeun fall in love, their partnership and commitment to each other helped them to survive unspeakable terrors under Pol Pot’s genocide.

After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the couple went on to raise three bright and capable children – 2 girls and 1 boy – and settled in rural Kandal province on a section of peaceful land. The family lived a modest but contended life until two years ago when Semeun and their eldest daughter died in a heartbreaking motorbike accident.

Samorn was unable to cope after the accident. He and Semeun had endured tragedy and loss before, but without Semeun at his side he could not endure his despair. In a province with virtually no mental health services, Samorn was left to suffer with depression, and turned to drinking and smoking heavily to cope. Within weeks, Samorn suffered a massive stroke that left him with severe left-sided weakness, never to fully recover.

To make matters worse, Samorn’s children began noticing sores on Samorn’s feet and legs, which they did not know was a late manifestation of diabetes. By the time he was correctly diagnosed as diabetic, the damage was so advanced that his left leg would need to be amputated – it was infected beyond repair. But the amputation was costly, and the children had no funds left to pay for it. They had already used their emergency savings and sold their late mother’s small jewelry collection – worth far more to them in memories than it was in money.

At last, the family found Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE. Here, Samorn was provided with affordable care, and received his life-saving amputation. Samorn has been with us for two weeks now, and will stay until his diabetes is under control. With financial assistance from SHCH, his children have one less worry on their minds.

Samorn’s son Ponlok expressed his relief at finding SHCH. “This hospital is fair to all people, and treats my father with respect,” he said.  “I don’t know what we would do without you.”

Samorn has a long road ahead of him, but with the support of SHCH his loving children who worked tirelessly to find him treatment, we are confident that Samorn can find his way through this new challenge in life and rediscover his resilience.