Posted on 9 May, 2013

This post is by Phil Roberts, Paediatric Cardiologist – Cambodia.

Hi my name is Phil Roberts. I am a Paediatric Cardiologist from Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney. As part of my everyday job, I can’t help but see a lot of grief and heartache, and I guess you learn to take it in your stride.

Today, however was different. I met a 6 year old boy that has just about nothing in his very short life – and not even his health.

Chea has recently lost both of his parents and was left at a Women’s Refuge Centre by a villager who didn’t know what else to do. And then to make matters worse, no orphanage or childrens home would accept him because he had just been diagnosed with a heart condition. You have to wonder how life could be worse for a 6 year old boy. Yet Chea has the biggest smiles of all. He is a very brave boy indeed.

In fact the Australian team knew about Chea prior to their visit as he was referred last month. His heart condition requires a special device to assist his mitral valve so we came prepared.

This type of surgery is expensive and two very generous Australians have come to his rescue. Geoff and Jan has paid for the device and in doing so, has given him the second chance that he so desperately needs. Every child is deserving of someone to watch over them – thank you Geoff and Jan for being there for Chea. His surgery is planned for tomorrow.

Dr Phil Roberts with Cambodian cardiac patient Chea

And then there were 3 patients who we operated on today. I am pleased to say that they are all doing well and are stable in the Intensive Care Unit. This is ICU nurse, Lizzy Kennedy’s 3rd OOH trip and she couldnt think of a better place to be at present. “I came back to Cambodia because the Cambodian staff are so great to work with – I would love to work with them back home in Perth. They are eager to learn, caring and considerate, and are able to provide excellent care under challenging conditions. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to share my expertise, and equally I learn a lot from my Cambodian colleagues about a different way of life.”

Left: Lizzy with the Mum of an 11 yo that had her hole in heart patched successfully Right: Wendy Corkill from Alice Springs with the Cambodian staff

Cambodian heart patient post surgery Shared nursing care from local and international nurses

Below: Karin Stevens and Sue Clubbe entertain a little girl going for surgery tomorrow.

Karin Stevens and Sue Clubbe entertaining a girl before surger

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