This last February, my wife, Judy, and I spent almost a month at Angkor Hospital For Children in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This was our 6th consecutive annual visit as volunteers. I teach pediatric radiology and Judy teaches English as a Second Language. When I first arrived there several years ago, they had essentially a self taught technician who was a trained nurse. There was no doctor in charge of reading x-rays and none of the doctors had any significant training in interpreting them. Volunteer pediatricians were doing the best they could but were frustrated by the poor quality of the films. Dr. Luy Leda, a young Cambodian doctor had some training in ultrasound and was diligent in working to improve the quality of his work. When I first met him in 2001, his ultrasound technique was quite good. However, he was not involved in the reading of x-rays. Once convinced that the hospital needed him to branch out into all imaging, he certainly rose to the challenge. With the volunteer radiologists spending one-on-one time with him, a 6 month radiology training program with Dr. David Stringer in Singapore, and a month primarily at the Hasbro Children Hospital in Providence RI, he is well on the way to becoming a qualified radiologist with respect to the modalities available to him: ultrasound, and basic x-ray examinations. I have enjoyed participating in his progress.
On the technical side, the Hospital has a darkroom with the same technican, who with the proper attention, has become excellent in his work as well Once he learned when to change his solutions, everyone was amazed with the improvement in the quality of his films. Currently, the training of a second radiologist has a high priority. In addition, through lectures, presentation of films on rounds, and seminars, the other doctors are having their interpretation of x-ray films improved. This, of course, is advanced significantly when a volunteer radiologist is at the Hospital.
In an attempt to make up for the loss of a generation of healthcare workers in Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge genocide, the Hospital has been a teaching Hospital from its beginning in the mid 90’s. Currently, on the Hospital grounds, there are several education buildings with a total of seven classrooms and a thriving education program for doctors, nurses, and other health care workers from all over Cambodia that fills them constantly. Also, there is major effort to bring preventive medical awareness and action to the villages in Siem Reap province. This involves water purification, malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis, dental care, etc. Home care is also a major program. Much more information is available on the Hospital website (
The language of the Hospital is English. Everyone working there has the opportunity to take English writing and speaking classes. My wife helped the full time English teacher. Dr. Mike Ozonoff’s wife helped the play therapist. Dr. Beverly Newman’s husband was involved with the Hospital’s maintenance workers. There is much to be done giving opportunity for spouses to participate.
The work Judy and I have done at Angkor Hospital Center has given us so much pleasure and satisfaction. I guess that is why we keep going back.
The Society for Pediatric Radiology is dedicated to fostering excellence in pediatric health care through imaging and image-guided care.
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