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Kueng's tragedy

Kueng's tragedy

Dear Sir,

I would like to make a number of statements to correct the

misinformation in the article "Army Hospital Comes Under Fire", in the April 22

issue of the Post. Kueng (addressed as Kun in the article), the sixteen-year-

old snake bite victim, was brought to Soldiers' Hospital because Kantha Bopha

Hospital said he was an adult and referred him to Calmette Hospital. The

Calmette doctors refused to consider treatment other than amputation. The

Surgery Hospital was also checked. Yet, the Soldiers' Hospital, known for good

wound care, was the only hospital willing to try to save Kueng's

arms.

For Kueng, who would rather die than lose his arms, the Soldier's

Hospital was the best option. There he received daily dressing changes and

cleansing done with good technique. Assemblies of God (AOG-Medical) worked in

conjunction with the Khmer Buddhist Society (KBS- Social Services). Each agency

visited weekly and two times weekly in the initial weeks of treatment. AOG

provided medicines and dressings. KBS provided a living allowance for the

patient and one caretaker. Meanwhile churches in America and all around Cambodia

have been praying for his recovery.

My expectation that Kueng would lose

the last 2 fingers of his left hand (which were black with dry gangrene) was

realized before he was admitted. The stumps of these fingers will be surgically

removed due to unsightliness. Kueng has good function in his remaining two

fingers and thumb. His right hand is intact, but immobile. Currently, Kueng

prefers a living hand over a plastic hand.

Please consider that Kueng

almost died the night of Jan 30. When I was taken to him three days later, he

was almost dead. I rushed him to Phnom Penh. Kantha Bopha transferred him by

ambulance to Pet Luksan Hospital who then dismissed him the next morning. I

re-found Kueng that evening. The next morning he was admitted into a provincial

hospital. His family discharged him after two weeks of less than adequate

treatment. One month later, a family member came to tell me Kueng was dying and

his "flesh was falling off" his arms. It took two weeks and the combined effort

of two agencies (AOG & KBS) to convince Kueng to go for treatment at the

Soldiers' Hospital. The plan was treatment and the guarantee was no one would

cut off anything without his consent.

I think seeing Kueng's wounds heal

and seeing him up walking, smiling, and using his 'good' hand is reward enough

for me. Unfortunately, you have done a disservice to the staff of Soldier's

Hospital. Please see the before and after pictures of this previously dying boy.

Soldier's Hospital, and the privately funded Kantha Bopha, are the only

hospitals I have found in Cambodia who treat without extorting bribes. In your

zeal to correct wrong, please do not shoot the innocent.

- Carol

Feigleson, RN, Assemblies of God-AOG

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