Category: Patient Stories
Chab Chroub thought she had tried everything to heal her wound. Chroub, 48, had stepped on a nail on her farm in Kratie Province. For two months, she tried to treat her wound with traditional medicine – soaking her foot in a bath of water with special leaves and tree barks. When it wasn’t working and the wound began to worsen, she visited a local pharmacist who gave her several boxes of expensive medication an injection in her hip. Chroub isn’t sure what the tablets or injection were for, because the pharmacist never explained them to her. All she knows is that they cost her $300 and didn’t work. At her wit’s end and now struggling financially, Chroub sold two of her cows and travelled with her niece to Phnom Penh to seek care at SHCH.
Once at SHCH, Chroub received the first thorough medical examination of her life, and was diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension. Chroub underwent two surgical wound debridements and was fitted with a wound vac for 5 days. Now the wound vac is off, and thanks to such attentive wound care and diabetes education from the inpatient nurses, Chroub is nearly ready to go home.
“The staff here told me that if I had waited any longer to come, I could have lost my foot or even my life,” Chroub told us, promising to take her diabetes seriously. “I am thankful to be here, and I’ve never experienced care like this in my life.”
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 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.
Ven Chanthol, 42, is a hard-working husband and father of four. He drives a tuk tuk in the city, earning $5 a day to buy food for his family. A month ago, Chanthol started feeling pain in his abdomen and experienced acute dizziness. After seeking care at a local health facility, his wife brought him to the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE. He came with a high fever and vomiting. Our staff rushed him to the Emergency Room where he was stabilized and diagnosed with acute kidney failure and gastritis (inflammation, irritation, or erosion of the stomach lining). After a week of care, Chanthol recovered greatly: he is back on his feet again, ready to get back to his tuk tuk and continue supporting his family.
‘I am thankful to SHCH for giving free treatment to poor patients like me. It’s difficult to describe the good feeling in my heart right now. I feel uplifted,’ said Chanthol. His wife added her thanks: ‘I would like to say thank you to all doctors that helped my husband. I will tell other people in my village about the good quality of this hospital.’
In the dusty streets of Phnom Penh, there are many recycling collectors that are walking through the city. Their pull carts that are loaded with cans, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes. Occasionally, the female trash collectors sometimes carry their babies or toddlers standing tall or swinging in a hammock as they nap. Kann Sroeun, a 60 year old widow, makes about $5 per day working her area in Phnom Penh.
Surrounded by exhaust fumes and city dirt, many of the street vendors and have breathing problems such as asthma and persistent cough. Sroeun arrived at Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE last month with severe difficulties. She was hypoxic, meaning that she did not have enough oxygen in her body, and had a very fast heart rate and shortness of breath.
Sroeun felt her situation was desperate. As a widow, she lived with her brother and sister in an urban shantytown slum in Phnom Penh. A doctor’s visit in a private clinic would have cost her at least 2 days wage and more charges for any treatment, medication or other supplies that might have been delivered to her.
She arrived at the hospital in the morning and was promptly evaluated. Sroeun received pure oxygen–a great relief for her tired lungs—and was diagnosed with severe asthma. After a week to rest and receive additional medications, Sroeun was discharged and returned to work.
“This is a great place. We received wonderful care and warmness from doctor and staff here.”- Sroeun. Yan Yunh, Sroeun’s sister,said “We thank the donors and doctors for support to the hospital. Without your contribution, this place would not exist and many would be. We are the poor so we really need you.”