Hospital Tour

On Monday, Joy and Gerlinda were kind enough to give me a tour of the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope where they both work.

The hospital is entirely free, and a source of real hope those who would otherwise be left without medical care. (Which includes most of the population given the level of poverty in Phnom Penh and its surrounds.) People even come in from the provinces to access the hospital’s services.

Outside its front doors is a triage area where medical staff examine approximately 200 potential patients and prioritize them. From there, they move to the inner lobby to await treatment. There’s an ER for emergency cases, and operating rooms for minor and major procedures. They also have follow-up care for TB, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes. Just as important, the hospital also trains medical staff, and all of these services and facilities are supported by donations and grants.

Afterwards, Gerlinda showed me a separate facility that was being used for as a hospice for HIV/AIDS patients. The fact that family were present to help care for the patients is amazing. Prior to the hospice and its associated education work, HIV+ individuals would’ve been ostracized for their disease.

Things have changed dramatically since Pol Pot time. Joy tells me that people used to use coconut shells for IV bags then. There’s so much more that could be done though. That is certainly clear, but there are hurdles, both financial and administrative.

Unfortunately, there’s not much profit for officials in helping provide medical care to the poor, and it’s just this kind of emergency that most frequently 1) destroys a person’s ability to provide for him/herself and family and 2) drives people to liquidate their savings and borrow money at ruinous interest rates in order to save a loved one’s life.

These are good people working at the hospital, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to see them in action.


~ by Samer on August 8, 2007.

One Response to “Hospital Tour”

  1. Just a quick oorrection… I misunderstood Joy. Apparently, it was coconut milk that was used as IV fluid in Pol Pot times. Not shells as IV bags. Even more amazing, I think.

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