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Published: January 20th 2019
It didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that I will never ride a motor-bike in Thailand. Motor-vehicle accidents (MVA) are the number one reason for admission onto this unit by a landslide. In Thailand, everyone rides electric scooters/motorcycles down here as one of the main forms of transportation. Unfortunately, however, they are very dangerous. Almost everyone that I cared for in the unit was admitted due to a MVA, consisting of one patient who was a foreigner. It was interesting to see the process the patient had to take in order to work things out with his insurance, as well as to observe the way Nakornping hospital dealt with the issue. I quickly concluded that getting severely injured while on vacation in a different country is not a situation I would ever want to be in. The patient struggled to communicate well with the Thai-speaking nurses, his vacation was ruined, and trying to deal with insurance was a nightmare. I mentioned previously that healthcare in Thailand is free, but that only applies to Thai citizens.
In addition to the trauma unit, I had the chance to check out the hospital’s operating “theater” (aka the OR).
We stood in on a thyroid surgery and a peritoneal dialysis catheter removal. I was surprised to see that surgical practice in Thailand is almost identical to that in America. They did a timeout before the surgery, maintained sterility, and counted all the supplies after the surgery. Just like in America, they play music in the OR, and the atmosphere is very relaxed. The biggest difference is the way sterility is attained. In America, we have the resources to use disposable gowns, gloves, masks, and hats. In Thailand, each and every one of these items are washed, re-sterilized, and used again. Even packaging for supplies needed for surgery are not wrapped in plastic/paper, but instead are wrapped in a cloth that is washed and reused. As a result, there is MUCH less waste in Thailand. Also, believe it or not, the OR is yet another place in the hospital that requires the removal of your shoes before entering. Most people slip on a pair of crocs or sandals, but I noticed that one of the female surgeons was barefoot during her surgery.
After another long day at the hospital, we met up with our Thai buddies for dinner on
mats outside of our dorm. We had “pork pan,” which meant that we sat around with chopsticks and placed a variety of meats and veggies onto a pan and firepit in front of us. It was so much fun to sit in a circle and have our buddies teach us how to use chopsticks and how to eat the meal. After dinner, we decided to teach them something by showing them how to make smores. It was SUCH a hit! Everyone loved roasting the marshmallows, and the amazing taste was an added bonus. None of them had ever tasted or even heard of a “smore” before, so it was super fun being able to share a little bit of our culture with them. The night ended with us all sitting in a circle and singing songs along with the guitar. I played and so did our Thai friend, Fah. Music is so important to me, so being able to share that with our new friends and communicate with them in that way was really great. We even sang a Christian song, Amazing Grace, and one of the girls from Thailand (who we recently discovered to be a Christian) lit up! You could tell that she was so excited to be able to share her faith with those around her. She sang the whole song in Thai with the biggest smile on her face. It was awesome!
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