IHVN’s cardiac mission team traveled to Kien Giang province in the Mekong Delta Region of South Vietnam in the Fall of 2013, our first inaugural Impact Health Vietnam medical mission to Vietnam. The site of our training visit was Kien Giang General Hospital, located in the capital city of Rach Gia, Kien Giang Province. Our US based open heart surgical team was led by Dr. Kenneth Liao, a renowned cardiac surgeon and heart transplant expert from The University of Minnesota Medical Center. Mrs Sam Minh Nguyet was one of five candidates previously screened and approved for open heart surgery by both IHVN and the local Heart Center doctors.

Mrs. Nguyet had been suffering for over 20 years from multiple heart defects which got progressively worse with time. She could no longer hold her job as an elementary school teacher, and her husband had to abandon his good paying job in the local government to care for her around the clock. She had to stop being the caregiver of her grandchildren, and her failing heart symptoms got worse.

Upon recommendation by her local doctors, she finally agreed to receive much needed open heart surgery performed by Dr. Liao and the cardiac team of IHVN. For the first time in the history of Kien Giang General Hospital’s heart center, during the six-hour long operation, Dr. Liao performed an aortic valve replacement, a mitral valve repair and a coronary bypass on Sam Minh Nguyet’s heart. The surgical procedures performed by Dr. Liao were also used to teach and train the local cardiac surgeons while our American ICU doctors and nurses helped train their Vietnamese counterparts in this newly opened Heart Center.

Mrs. Nguyet recovered fully without complications from her life saving surgery and was able to resume her daily activities around the house with no further shortness of breath and fainting episodes.

Our IHVN cardiac team returned to Rach Gia city for many years for our annual training visit at the local hospital. Each time, Mrs. Nguyet made sure she could come and see us to personally express her appreciation and gratitude, and each time with a gift in her hands, and a beaming, happy smile on her face.