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
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.
Feigleson, RN, Assemblies of God-AOG