Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Next Stop: Hawaii (for work, of course)
Next Monday Jason and I will have a real chance to thaw out...in Hawaii. Now, before you start questioning how we could possibly need a vacation after just returning from Bora Bora, please be advised that this is a work trip. Seriously.

I'm actually really excited about this trip because it seems like a really great opportunity for me to see first hand some of the work Jason did while he was in Cambodia. Jason and one of his Cambodian collegues will be presenting their work at a Critical Care conference in Hawaii next weekend. Of course, Jason and I will go a few days early to hang around Maui. After all, we wouldn't want to miss out on the opportunity for another mini-vacation, would we?

If you'll allow me for a second, I'd like to explain a bit about some of the work Jason did at a pediatric hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia. He and a group of Cambodian doctors were part of implementing some life-saving changes in the way the hospital treated patients who needed a certain type of critical care. The work is significant because the old therapy that was being used required expensive equipment (not readily available in Cambodia - often imported from West) and frequently landed patients in worse shape - many times even leading to death. Jason and his Cambodian collegues were able to use a much more cost-effective and simple therapy to treat these patients and the results were staggering. It turns out that the new treatment was less complex, easier to use, more cost-effective, and much more realistic for a place like Cambodia to reproduce and use effectively. (Side Note: this is not a new therapy all together, it is actually an old therapy that was replaced in the US by expensive equipment several years ago. Well-meaning doctors brought the expensive and complex equipment to Cambodia intending for Cambodian doctors to use it.) Most importantly, though, the new therapy has increased the outcomes of the pediatric patients. In lay man's terms, this means that many more patients lived instead of died. That's significant.

The conference will be a great opportunity for Jason's Cambodian collegue, Pagnarith, to tell about the hospital in Siem Reap and raise awareness about the impact this type of simple critical care therapy could have in countries without a lot of resources. It could be very significant for Western doctors to see that sometimes over-complicating procedures and importing Western equipment is not always beneficial in these places, particularly IF there is a simple, reproducible, cost-effective solution available. Hopefully Pagnarith and Jason's presentation will be well-received and perhaps provoke some good conversations about what's really best in international medicine. We'll see.

Jason and I are looking forward to hanging out in Hawaii with Pagnarith. Personally I am looking forward to the chance to see this sliver of Jason's life that is still somewhat foreign to me. We have planned to take a trip to Cambodia together someday, so I can see the hospital in person. I am so proud of his work there and the impact he has made. I honestly can't wait to see him in action at the conference and I'm thankful I get to tag along on all his work trips now (oh, the perks of being a wife!)

You can learn more about the hospital in Cambodia and see pictures by clicking here: www.angkorhospital.org

3 comments:

kimmy said...

wow that is awesome nicole. d and i went to maui for our honeymoon and it was amazing :) have fun!

Melissa said...

Wow! I'm so excited for all of your big news! Isn't the snow lovely? I'm glad there is snow to accompany the cold. The snow makes the cold seem more bearable.
I'm exceedingly excited to hear about your baby! Oh! I can't wait to see you and catch up. I miss you!

Laura said...

nicole,

congratulations on the baby. I know you and Jason are going to be great parents. Hope the time in Maui allows you to get well needed rest...

Also about Cambodia - you need to go someday. The people are wonderful and that is so incredible what Jason did to help the hospitals. I was there for a little while in 1997 but war broke out and we had to leave the country. My dream is to go back some day to visit.

Have fun in warm Hawaii!!! - Laura (Kumpe) S.