Loan’s Long Ride: How a Vietnamese Girl Fulfilled her Dream

From China Medical University Hospital 2018-03-27

 

“Daddy, I can finally ride my bike to school!” Dancing with excitement, the 13-year-old girl, Loan, just fulfilled a dream she had had since she was little. Seeing Loan’s joy, A-De, Loan’s father, had complex feelings. “Being poor with four children to raise, I could not afford the medical expenses for Loan’s treatment,” A-De said. “Fortunately, Loan did not need to get an amputation; otherwise, I would have felt guilty for the rest of my life.” Loan suffered from congenital lower limb lymphedema. The disease caused her lower limb to swell up to the size of an elephant’s leg, drawing peculiar looks. As a result, Loan experienced mental anguish. Her most critical conditions were bleeding from the rectum and severe deformity of certain organs such as the large intestine. These led to severe, life-threatening dysfunctions.

Unable to afford treatment for his beloved daughter, Loan’s father said he could only pray for a miracle.

According to A-De, Loan went to Ho Chi Minh City Children’s Hospital when she was 6 months old and was diagnosed with lymphedema. Loan had surgery; however, subsequent treatment did not go well. Medication could not get the condition under control and it got worse. In 2012, Loan received a donation of more than NT$1 million (US$34,340) from Taiwan businesspeople and underwent treatment at China Medical Hospital in central Taiwan’s Taichung City.  Her rectum and sigmoid colon hemangioma were resected. The deformity of her perineum was also corrected. As a result, she had no more bleeding from the anus. Parts of the vascular lesions in left lower limb were also removed. Loan needed  further surgeries on her thigh and waist. However, A-De did not have the money to continue the treatment. Back in Vietnam, Loan’s left thigh became severely infected. When Loan sought treatment, her doctor recommended the amputation of her leg, adding that the procedure might be life-threatening. Worried and helpless, A-De could not afford the huge cost of care with the small income from his coffee farm. “We are Catholic. The only thing I can do is to pray sincerely every day,” he said.

CMUH International Medical Service Center Seeks Sponsorship from Taiwan Businesspeople to Fund Loan’s Second Surgery

 

A miracle occurred in 2016. Aichi Chou, CEO of CMUH International Medical Service Center, and her team secured a donation of NT$2.5 million from Hong Fu Industrial Group, which has operated in Vietnam for years. This made Loan’s second treatment in Taiwan possible. Although life-threatening thrombus occurred unexpectedly during the surgery, Loan’s operation was completed without any complications. More good news followed when the donation for her care was increased to NT$4 million.
Dr. Chen Hung-chi and Dr. William Tzu-liang Chen, the president and vice president of CMUH International Medical Service Center, respectively, led a team consisting of chief physicians from the departments of pediatric cardiology, pediatric surgery, colorectal surgery, rehabilitation and plastic surgery in compiling a treatment plan that involved five interdepartmental reconstructive surgeries over three stages in one year. They successfully treated Loan’s lower limb lymphedema, which involved complicated issues related to the spleen, thigh, perineum and rectum. “Loan was a very brave girl in enduring pain after surgery and during rehabilitation,” said Chen Hung-chi. Chou participated in every aspect of the entire process and prayed sincerely when the life-threatening thrombus occurred. “We just wanted to save her life. Thank you, heavenly Lord. We did it,” she said. William Tzu-liang Chen emphasized that this case highlights Taiwan’s global medical contributions and the work of CMUH International Medical Service Center.

‘Taiwan is the most wonderful place in the world.’—Loan

Wearing pretty new shoes and accompanied by her father, President Chen and his team, Loan returned to Vietnam in July 2017. “A big thanks to Grandpa Chen [Chen Hung-chi], Hong Fu Industrial Group and Taiwan,” she said. “Taiwan is the most wonderful place in the world.”

The family received lots of love from society during Loan’s treatment in Taiwan. Now Loan is in fifth grade studying diligently, learning new words and memorizing Tang dynasty poems. “I want to be a teacher in the future so I can teach children how to write and help more people,” Loan said. She helps look after her younger siblings, works on the coffee farm and rides her bike, fulfilling her long-held dream. She also plays with her friends joyfully, and she smiles again.