Military doctors in Truong Sa Island District

(VOVworld) - Military doctors and nurses in Truong Sa Island District, Khanh Hoa province, must fulfill two missions at the same time: provide health care to islanders and soldiers living there and provide first aid and emergency medical treatment to fishermen engaged in offshore fishing. In such a remote place, the military doctors cope with environmental hardships and shortages of supplies and equipment.

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Doctors of the Song Tu Tay infirmary join their colleagues from Military Hospital 175 to give emergency aid to an injured fisherman (Photo: Vinh Phong)

Early this year, the Nam Yet Island infirmary was informed that Pham Hoa, a fisherman working on fishing boat QNG 90927-TS, was in distress after an accident.

The infirmary’s chief and several island soldiers immediately went by speedboat to the spot of the accident, administered first aid, and moved the patient to the island for surgery and further treatment.

Hoa recalled that while pulling in his fishing nets, he was struck by an eel and received a severe injury. He was later diagnosed with a broken tendon, a dislocated thumb, and broken blood vessels and nerves, and underwent an emergency operation.

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An operation at the Song Tu Tay infirmary (Photo: Vinh Phong)

Hoa says he was very lucky to have received prompt treatment and excellent care from the doctors and nurses on Nam Yet Island. “I feel better now. The doctors have given me careful treatment, so I’m not worried any more. When we go offshore fishing and sustain any injuries, we fishermen have long been accustomed to getting treated on the island. We are very grateful for the whole-hearted assistance of the military doctors on the island. Despite difficult conditions, they are always ready to go out to the fishing boats to give first aid and necessary medical treatment to ill or injured fishermen,” he said.

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Doctor Nguyen Dinh Thanh, chief of the Nam Yet infirmary (Photo: Vinh Phong)

It took 2 hours to complete Hoa's surgery. Coming out of the operating room, Doctor Nguyen Dinh Thanh, chief of the Nam Yet infirmary, said the surgery was a success, adding that some fishermen who sustain soft tissue injuries simply bandage their wounds and continue working. Those wounds can become inflamed or infected.

Doctor Thanh said: “We have sufficient equipment to perform both minor and major surgeries, including setting broken femurs and abdomenal and thoracic surgeries. We have a surgeon, an internist, and nurses for various medical specialties. We are fully trained. Previously, we were general practitioners, but now we are specialists. Before starting to work here, we attended a 6- to 12-month course to learn how to deal with emergency situations, so we are very confident about emergency cases.”

Song Tu Tay (Southwest Cay) island commune in the northern Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago is home to a drylock and fishing logistics area that supports commercial fishing vessels working the Truong Sa fishing grounds.

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The Song Tu Tay infirmary (Photo: Vinh Phong)

The Song Tu Tay infirmary has been well-equipped for internal medicine and surgery. It even has ultra sound scanners. Last year, the infirmary provided medical examinations and treatment for more than 1,300 cases.

Hoang Chi Trung, who has worked on the island for 4 months, recalls one industrial accident - an emergency case in which all the doctors and nurses had to take turns caring for the patient.                       

“On the mainland, the patient could have been put on a respirator. Here we had to take turns manually operating a resuscitator to give the patient oxygen throughout the night. The patient had a serious accident and couldn’t breathe. It wasn't until noon the next day that a helicopter could reach the island to transport the patient to the mainland for intensive treatment,” according to doctor Trung.

Doctor Dang Dinh Dung, chief of the Song Tu Tay infirmary, says the daily work on the island is very different from that on the mainland. Every doctor and nurse must be prepared to treat all kinds of injuries and illnesses, from broken limbs to appendicitis.

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Doctor Dang Dinh Dung, chief of the Song Tu Tay infirmary (Photo: Vinh Phong)

“When we decided to work on the island, we all made up our minds to do our best. Being so far away from home, we, of course, miss our families, our wives and children. But we always encourage each other to be strong and fulfill our duties here”, Dung noted.


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