Le Trong Phat, MD, PhD: Restoring My Patients’ Health and Quality of Life, Earning Their Trust and Appreciation, Are My Greatest Achievements

After 22 years of developing his career in Germany, Le Trong Phat, MD, PhD, returned to Vietnam to contribute to the medical field in his homeland. He encountered numerous challenges and treated many complex medical cases previously undocumented in global medical literature.

For the past 14 years, Le Trong Phat, MD, PhD, Head of FV’s Bone & Joint Centre, has been closely associated with FV Hospital. During this time, he has handled a much greater number of rare medical cases than in two decades of his career in Germany.

For Dr Phat, the opportunity to successfully treat complex and challenging cases is the greatest reward for his decision to leave a leading-edge medical environment in Europe and return to Vietnam.

“Helping every patient to achieve a much improved quality of life is my motivation and greatest accomplishment. Returning to Vietnam and working at FV Hospital has been the right decision for me,” expressed Dr Phat.

Coming home to seek out new challenges

Returning to Vietnam after nearly four decades in Germany, where he spent 22 years building his career to become Deputy Head of General Surgery and Orthopaedics at Franzikus Hospital­, might seem like a surprising decision. Despite the promising prospects and stability offered by a prestigious European hospital, Dr Phat felt compelled to seek new challenges in Vietnam.

“My time in Germany provided me with invaluable learning experiences, but I wanted to immerse myself in a more challenging environment—one that would offer greater opportunities for professional development. Returning to Vietnam was a carefully considered decision. I wanted to contribute to the healthcare system of my homeland, advance my career, and experience life in my native country,” reflected Dr Phat on his decision to work in Vietnam.

Le Trong Phat, MD, PhD, seeks professional challenges upon deciding to return to Vietnam.

Dr Phat was impressed by the working conditions, environment, and facilities and equipment at FV Hospital, which have received financial and human investment on par with developed nations.

“In addition to the modern facilities, the hospital also observes the international standard professional procedures essential for optimal patient care. These factors align with the values ​​of my profession and are suited for the direction I wanted to pursue, so I agreed to join FV without hesitation,” Dr Phat explained.

Like many others when having to integrate into a new work environment, Dr Phat had to face differences in methods, operational procedures, and difficulties in communicating in Vietnamese, which he did not speak proficiently at that time. However, when processes were standardised in collaboration with his colleagues, workflows became smoother and more effective.

Ms Le Sy Thuy worked alongside Dr Phat for eight years as a nurse at FV’s Bone & Joint Centre. Thuy says she was impressed by Dr Phat’s considered work demeanour and dedication to reassuring others.

“Dr Phat is someone who is meticulous in his work but not dry, and always maintains a gentle, caring, and empathetic approach towards patients. I have seen many patients feeling sad, worried, or severely stressed due to their illnesses, but after talking with Dr Phat, they always find comfort,” she explains.

Returning to Vietnam at a time when domestic medical techniques were not yet on par with advanced countries, Le Trong Phat, MD, PhD, began by developing new treatment protocols with the FV team, applying many advanced treatment methods from around the world.

Dr Phat and his team standardise treatment protocols at FV

Leveraging his technical expertise, managerial capabilities, and extensive treatment experience from his time in Germany, Dr Phat is also developing the field of sports injury treatment at FV—a health issue that has become increasingly prevalent in Vietnam in recent years.

Standardising treatment protocols not only involves surgical procedures but also encompasses postoperative processes, such as guiding patients in physical therapy and functional rehabilitation. Dr Phat is confident that the hospital can provide optimal treatment solutions for patients.

“In reality, many patients, and even some doctors, believe that once surgery is done, the treatment is concluded. This misconception is partly due to the overload of the healthcare system. At FV, we closely monitor the patient’s recovery process after surgery, ensuring they have a better quality of life,” emphasised Dr Phat.

Dr Phat says that another contributing factor to the success of surgeries is that they are performed in operating rooms that meet JCI International healthcare standards. The surgical site infection rate at FV is only around 0.2%—an impressive figure, even when compared to those of developed medical systems.

Conquering medical cases unprecedented in the world’s medical literature

As he engaged more in system management as the Head of Department, Dr Phat also focused on one of the main reasons for his return to Vietnam: Seeking professional challenges.

In over 14 years of working at FV Hospital’s Bone & Joint Centre, Dr Phat has faced numerous challenges, with many patients coming to him in critical condition, with treatment and recovery prospects as low as a few percent. The desire to conquer difficult cases has become the driving force for Dr Phat to successfully treat many rare cases, some of which have never been recorded in the medical literature.

One memorable case occured in 2014, when Dr Phat treated 14-year-old patient Do Trong Hieu, who was born with congenital knee joint deformities, rendering him unable to walk. His kneecap was completely dislocated, and the knee joint was misaligned. Ligaments and some tendons were entangled, with anterior and posterior crosses, stretched ligaments, and missing cartilage outside the knee joint.

Domestic medical facilities declined treatment for young Hieu. Consulting with many leading experts in Germany and Australia, they stated they had never encountered similar cases. After deliberation, Australian doctors suggested amputation and fitting the boy with a prosthetic leg.

Staff describe Dr Phat’s voice as “gentle, like a lullaby.”

Making the call to cut off a teenager’s legs is extremely difficult for any doctor. After days of contemplating and studying the medical records, Dr Phat finally found a feasible solution to treat his patient without performing an amputation. After successful surgeries on his left and right legs, Hieu made a remarkable recovery and was able to walk normally again, and even play football with friends.

When asked about his emotions when successfully treating such rare cases, Dr Phat smiled and replied: “I am very happy when the patient has a better quality of life after treatment. Personally, I focus on doing my daily work to the best standard possible, and I feel satisfied because the surgery went exactly as I had planned.”

Happiness in dedicating himself to the health of patients.

When implementing international standards for treating bone and joint diseases in patients, Le Trong Phat, MD, PhD, faced many concerns. He shared that many patients still underestimate the importance of comprehensive treatment for bone and joint conditions. In fact, many patients come to FV Hospital in very severe condition, where conservative treatment is no longer possible, and more aggressive methods such as partial or total joint replacement are required.

“I have heard many people say that it’s okay to wait and then replace the joint, or just take painkillers until the pain goes away. However, this mindset can turn mild conditions, which could be treated conclusively in a short time, into prolonged and painful illnesses. The patient’s quality of life deteriorates significantly in cases that we could treat completely so they could live happily and healthily,” said the Head of Bone & Joint Centre at FV Hospital.

Le Trong Phat, MD, PhD, works with his surgical team in FV’s high-tech operating room.

As he surmounts the challenges encountered during patient treatment, Dr Phat remains deeply committed to passing on invaluable experiences gained over nearly four decades in his field to the next generation of doctors.

“I don’t just want to share successes but also my mistakes and shortcomings, as those are valuable lessons for young doctors,” Dr Phat candidly expresses.

Dr Truong Hoang Vinh Khiem, a young doctor at the Bone & Joint Centre, expresses his joy at working alongside Dr Phat, whom he regards as an older brother and mentor.

“Dr Phat is always willing to stand behind me and support me in performing difficult techniques. He shares almost all his knowledge and experience with us, holding nothing back,” Dr Khiem reveals.

For the head of the department who is in his sixties, continuing to contribute to FV as a Head of Department brings him joy and allows him to support more patients and achieve more of his goals as he pushes the boundaries of care in his specialty.

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