Seeing the System Differently

Hello, Aaron (medical student) from Australia here.

A common conversation when the CSC surgical team discusses a patient before surgery:
Surgeon: Why did this patient come now if they've had this pathology/disability for decades?
Interpreter: They heard CSC does not refuse to give care if the patient cannot pay.

During my life, I have been fortunate enough to live in a country with a medical system abundant in resources. My recent experience at CSC has opened my eyes to the stark contrast faced by those living in resource-poor environments. Frequently, Cambodians with a disability have to raise funds from extended family and neighbours just to access basic healthcare.  The heartbreaking reality is that many of these patients have to abandon their treatment midway due to running out of money.
At CSC, your donations provide these patients with healthcare; no one is ever turned away due to financial reasons. CSC staff even consider how far the patient lives from the centre to tailor post-surgical care for these patients. This reduces the associated costs of travel for treatment after surgery. It's important to note that CSC focuses on sustainable healthcare infrastructure in Cambodia through the training of local doctors. As future doctors, we are responsible for monitoring patients from their first visit, assisting in surgical procedures, and following up during recovery. CSC has a reputation as an exceptional training hospital. One time, I even witnessed a group of 5 students mustering up the courage to ask Dr. Jim if they could continue coming during the holiday!

During my stay here, I was fortunate to work with four teams of visiting specialists, each with distinguished surgeons in their field. These experts had the primary goal of training local surgeons, not conducting surgery. This helps local surgeons acquire advanced knowledge and skills. In all of these cases, the knowledge is left in the hands of the local professionals, empowering them to improve the healthcare of this country.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone at CSC for offering me the opportunity to learn here. I am a better "future doctor" and hopefully "surgeon" because of my experience and I encourage everyone to financially support CSC.

Author: Ellen Interlandi

Ellen, a registered nurse, and her husband Brian, an anesthesiologist, have been active volunteers at CSC since 2008. Ellen has undergraduate degrees in both Nursing and Spanish Literature, and a graduate degree in Health Management. Since 2020, Ellen has volunteered in the role of Stakeholder Relations, connecting with our generous supporters, interacting with visiting surgeons and students, and disseminating updates on Children's Surgical Centre.

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