Health

Female doctor heals ‘sick’ kidneys


Ho Chi Minh CityOver 20 years of work, 48-year-old doctor Huynh Ngoc Phuong Thao has saved thousands of kidney patients, helped them live a new life, and even gave birth to healthy children.

Mr. Lam Quang Khoi, 35 years old, suffered from severe chronic diabetes for many years. Later, he suffered from complications of end-stage renal failure and had to undergo hemodialysis since 2019 at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Dialysis is only a temporary measure to prolong life, while the patient is young and has no children, so Dr. Thao, Head of the Department of Internal Medicine – Artificial Kidney, advises on a kidney transplant so that he can live a normal healthy life. often.

According to Dr. Thao, kidney transplant is the best method of kidney replacement therapy for patients with end-stage failure, especially young people. If hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis help maintain the patient’s life, a kidney transplant will bring a better quality of life. Patients can reintegrate into life, can return to work, almost normal activities instead of having to depend on filters and complicated filtration systems.

Doctor Thao visited and advised Mr. Khoi before being discharged from the hospital in June 2021. Photo: provided by the doctor

Pham Anh Lan, Khoi’s mother, decided to donate a kidney to her son. The test results are compatible, it is expected that he will be operated on in March 2020, the first kidney transplant at the University Hospital of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City. However, the operation was interrupted many times because of the complicated development of the Covid-19 epidemic, the traffic between countries was stagnant, Lan Anh, who is residing in the US, could not return to Vietnam as planned.

In May 2021, the mother returned home. The major surgery performed by Professor Tran Ngoc Sinh (specialist advisor of Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital, former Head of Urology Department of Cho Ray Hospital) went smoothly. Lan Anh recovered soon and was discharged from the hospital after only 3 days after surgery. However, Mr. Khoi’s recovery process was more difficult, he had to stay isolated in the intensive care unit (ICU) for a month, instead of just staying in the normal postoperative room and being able to go home after about two weeks as in other cases. other. The reason is that many blood vessels, including the renal blood vessels, are fibrotic and narrow (complications of long-term diabetes mellitus) causing the transplanted kidney to not function immediately.

The doctors had to place a stent to dilate the narrow blood vessel, and at the same time let the patient continue on hemodialysis and use a variety of medical drugs to restore kidney function. During a month of comprehensive care by medical staff, and 24/24h monitoring by Doctor Thao, the transplanted kidney gradually worked well, Mr. Khoi stopped dialysis and was discharged right before the second outbreak. 4 in Ho Chi Minh City broke out violently. In addition to the monthly routine examination, Dr. Thao maintains regular consultations and remote health checks for them via social networks. Currently, he and his mother have recovered, returned to work and normal activities.

“I am grateful to Dr. Thao and Dr. Sinh for doing everything possible to save my son. For many years, he has always received dedicated care and treatment,” said Ms. Lan Anh.

This is one of 16 kidney transplants at Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital in the past two years. All 32 donors and kidney transplant recipients are now healthy, in stable health, and the transplanted kidney is working well. Despite being a fledgling kidney transplant unit in the South, after Cho Ray Hospital, People 115, Children 2… this initial success is a “sweet fruit” for the unremitting efforts for more than 30 years. Studying and practicing medicine by Dr. Thao – head of the Department of Internal Medicine – Artificial Kidney and colleagues.

Doctor Thao said that Her chance to enter the medical profession is a sad memory. In 1985, her father, a math teacher, was suddenly diagnosed with end-stage renal failure. After three months in hospital, he died at the age of 41. Being very idolatrous and close to her father, little Thao that day was shocked, unable to accept the truth. With the pain of finding out the cause of her father’s illness, learning to cure this dangerous disease, “so that no child loses a father or mother because of kidney disease like her”, the 11-year-old girl gave up her dream of becoming a mother. become a teacher like her father, determined to study medicine.

Consistent with only one path, she graduated as a resident nephrologist in 2002, worked at the Department of Internal Medicine, Cho Ray Hospital, and twice went to study in France. For the second time (2009-2010), she applied for a job at the Kidney Transplant Department, Kremlin Bicetre Hospital, Paris – France’s largest kidney transplant center to learn the most advanced techniques for monitoring and caring for transplant patients, applied in Vietnam. In 2016, Doctor Thao took over the first position of head of the department, established the Department of Internal Medicine – Artificial Kidney Hospital of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City.

From zero when it was first established, the department now receives an average of 50,000 visits and treatment each year. Covering all aspects of internal kidney disease, kidney biopsy, plasma exchange and advanced kidney replacement treatments, such as automatic peritoneal dialysis, hemodialysis, kidney transplant… successfully treated, maintained and improved the quality of life to a near-normal state for tens of thousands of people with kidney diseases, such as chronic kidney failure, glomerular damage, systemic lupus erythematosus nephritis.. Like a 27-year-old girl, after a successful kidney transplant, she became healthy and became a marketing director of a construction company.

In addition, Dr. Thao and colleagues have also contributed to changing the concept and reality that people with kidney disease or who have had a kidney transplant/donor cannot have children. As in the case of a sister donating a kidney to her brother, about a year after the operation, both small families had a new member. The sister and sister-in-law both got pregnant naturally and gave birth to a healthy baby. Women with lupus nephritis today can also give birth because new generation drugs do not affect fertility. To date, about 20 women with this disease treated at the department have given birth safely.

Not only stopping at the current results, Dr. Thao said, she and her colleagues are going to register for a scientific research project on kidney transplantation from living people without the same blood type, thereby opening up more opportunities. survival for patients with end-stage renal failure. Thao herself also collaborated with international colleagues to study new immunosuppressive drugs to treat nephritis caused by systemic lupus erythematosus, IgA nephropathy…

Dr. Huynh Ngoc Phuong Thao.  Photo: Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital

Dr. Huynh Ngoc Phuong Thao. Photo: Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital

With more than 20 years of dedication to the cause of saving lives, Dr. Thao said that sometimes she neglects family work, until this year, she is 48 years old and her youngest child is only in first grade. Fortunately, she has a biological mother and husband – also a doctor, who always understands and supports her in taking care of and raising children. Her eldest daughter is preparing for university entrance exams this year, and will probably follow her parents to study health-related majors.

“My childhood dream has come true. Standing in front of each patient, I always think of them as my family, to make the best decision,” said Dr. Thao.

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