Children of vietnam

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Nguyễn Thị Kim Anh Nguyễn Hoài Phương Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Ánh Trần Nhuận Điền Nguyễn Đức Tân
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Nguyễn Thị Kim Anh

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My daughter has a bright future again

Mommy, my leg is so painful!” Ms. Huynh Thi Ngoc Gieng still remembers the image of her little daughter tightening her lips against the pain in her right knee

Her heart was burning as if it had been rubbed with salt whenever she looked at her daughter fighting the pain. Whenever the weather changed, the pain became so intense that Ngoc Nhi did not want to eat anything. She was getting more and more haggard compared to her peers. Ngoc Nhi’s right knee was swollen and stiff while the rest of her leg became shrunken and she could neither walk nor stand normally. Despite being treated several times, her condition did not improve.

Early arthritis at five years of age

Over the past ten years, Ngoc Nhi had to live with the pain of arthritis in her knee. Her mother, Ms. Gieng, said “Since she was five years old child, my daughter often complained of pain in her right leg. Our family took her to the hospital for tests, scans and medical treatment but her condition didn’t get any better. She constantly complained of pain, and it became more intense on days the weather was bad.” Ms. Gieng was a housemaid for a family in HCMC. Her income of VND 2 million a month was the bread and butter for her family. Her husband lost his working capacity, so he could only help her in taking care of their children and doing housework. They did not have enough money to continue their daughter’s treatment. Ngoc Nhi’s knee arthritis became worse and worse, and eventually she could not walk nor stand by herself. Finally, she had to leave school because of her weak health even though she was an excellent student.

Knowing her condition, the Children of Vietnam Charitable Fund, jointly founded by FV Hospital and Thanh Nien Newspaper, has helped Ngoc Nhi by providing free treatment and surgery at FVH’s Orthopaedics Department on 12th April 2012.

Support knee replacement with advanced technology

At FVH, after giving Ngoc Nhi a careful examination, Dr. Le Trong Phat, Head of Orthopaedics reported, “Nhi was affected with chronic arthritis in her right knee. Since this condition did not receive comprehensive and timely treatment, her cartilage scaled away. If left untreated, her leg will exhibit fibrosis, atrophy and stiffness and she will be permanently disabled. To correct her knee problem, we decide to perform the knee replacement for Ngoc Nhi.”

 

 

On 24th April 2012, a knee replacement arthroplasty was performed successfully. Two days later, Nhi experienced her first physical therapy exercises with help of a physiotherapist at FVH’s Physiotherapy Department. This would improve the flexibility and mobility of her knee.

Commenting on Ngoc Nhi’s arthroscopy, Dr. Le Trong Phat explained, “Paediatric chronic arthritis is a serious disease in children and is caused by many reasons such as rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic diseases, immune-related diseases and infection. This arthritis commonly occurs in children from five to 16 years of age with symptoms like knee pain and swelling. Infected fluid is discharged inside the joint and patients suffer from pain whenever moving due to increasing pressure in the joint. If left untreated for a long time, the knee will become damaged and affected with fibrosis.

“For less serious cases, medical therapy and physical therapy treatments are applied to relieve the pain and slow the infection. However, since Ngoc Nhi suffers from severe arthritis, we decided to give her a knee replacement with an artificial joint via a small incision. This minimised the invasiveness of the surgery and risk of infection, and ensured a faster recovery. In addition, this artificial joint is extremely durable and will last 20 years. After the surgery, Ngoc Nhi received support in completing physical exercises at FVH, which promotes the recovery process of the patient, and helped her to return to normal life quickly.”

 

On 11th June, Ngoc Nhi returned to hospital for a follow-up examination. Her leg has gradually recovered and become stronger. One month after the surgery, Ngoc Nhi could walk step by step by herself without crutches. With a happy smile, Nhi said “I am so happy to be walking on my own legs. I will review my lessons to return to school again. I am very grateful to the doctors for saving my leg so that I can walk normally.”

Seeing her daughter walking healthily like her peers, Ms. Gieng said, with tears in her eyes, “My daughter has finally got a bright future again.”

As students across Vietnam return to school, Nhi joins them, goes back to her class on her own two feet. She now studies in grade 10 at Đốc Binh Kiều High school in Can Tho province.