Series of theme Facing Death – Part 5: Dr. Huynh Ngoc Long: Micracle happens when the doctors try their best!

I have heard that Dr. Huynh Ngoc Long is a brave person who never refuses any patient. So, as soon as I had a chance to meet him, I asked him half-jokingly: “The field of cardiovascular disease often encounters critical cases of which patients even completely stopped breathing, why are you still dare treat?” Dr. Long smiled: “For the patients, I have the only goal that is saving them.”

The one who prefers to be in the “front line”

Opening his kind smile with the eyes squinting behind the white glasses on the gentle face, Dr. Huynh Ngoc Long makes strong impression of a careful, calm and tolerant person on anyone. Additionally, there is unchanged enthusiasm and love for the job in this doctor even after 28 years of wearing the white blouse. Perhaps this love makes him, a young graduated Pediatrician in 1989, eagerly joined the general hospital working at his home town, took the work bravely at the emergency room to care for both adults and children. At that time, this department was overwhelmed by the viral hemorrhagic fever, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and other problems.

Although just being a young and skinny man, Dr. Long is so dedicated to work that he often charges of 40-50 cases of illness a day. He had no concept of relaxing and no need to rest when patients still need him. He doesn’t hesitate of doing the CPR for patients with… pulmonary tuberculosis which causes of coughing up blood. “Fortunately, I am not getting infected,” shared Dr. Long.

Six years later, being at the top of his career, Dr. Long decided to move to the Heart Institute. This turn came from the death of his father. The doctor was anxious to find answers to the sudden death of his father, and wanted to contribute to the cardiovascular industry which was the new area in Vietnam at that time.

In 1999, Dr. Long was one of the first three Southern specialists to receive intensive cardiac surgery training at Broussais Hospital and European Georges Pampidou Hospital in France. Returning home in 2001, he specialized in cardiac catheterization. Not only be physician with “miracle” hands, he also contributed to the development of nearly 20 cardiac centers across the country, starting from zero, directly trained each team of doctors until they became experts in the field. He always advises that if you are afraid of X-rays, you would better not to follow this job. It is a very sincere and poignant advice. Because a cardiac scanner requires accurate and rapid manipulation, if it is affected by fear that causes bewilderment, both patients and doctor would be in danger.

After 22 years of dedicating to the Heart Institute with the position of deputy of cardiac surgery department, in July of 2017, his decision to join FV Hospital surprised many colleagues. For him, this is simply a chance to self-renew at the age of 53. In just a short time, Dr. Long and his colleagues have set up the Heart department with two parts: internal medicine and cardiac surgery.

FV Hospital Heart Department is equipped with the world’s leading modern facilities such as the most modern cardiac machine, the best emergency equipment and software program. Those facilities greatly support the doctor in treating the patients.  Dr. Long is overall pleased and proud of the skillful team of medical doctors in the Heart Department. They are very enthusiastic in learning and applying new treatment methods. They are always willing to face against any critical cases, too. After a very short time, the number of patients visiting FVH Heart Department has increased.

The doctor who believes in miracles!

“For the patients, I have only goal that is saving them.” – The reason for not rejecting patients of Dr. Long, sounds very simple, but it is usually the hard way to win back patients’ lives. With the talent and the hard-bitten sprit, his dedication has helped him achieve many miracles in medical field.

One of the miracles he made in the young age was to save a child whose heart had stopped by arriving at the hospital. In case of lacking emergency equipment, Dr. Long has spent 9 hours doing CPR and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Finally the child is saved without any cerebral aftereffect.

“I only knew that there was still hope and I continued to do my best for the work” said Dr. Long.

In another case, a patient who had a fixed aortic valve which was stable but the patient had a sudden cardiac arrest few hours later. Suspecting that the valve was stuck, Dr. Long attempted to rub the patient’s chest for 2 hours while waiting for the team to operate his chest to repair the valve. “It’s usually during cardiac resuscitation that after 30 minutes of unsuccessful therapy, the doctor would stop, because although the patient is saved, the heart stops beating too long leaving a severe neurological aftereffect. Surprisingly, this patient was rescued without any problems.” On subsequent treatment visits, the patient exclaimed that he has been able to kick the ball very well!

The physician is taught to follow medical literature. But with his experience, Dr. Long believes that there are always miracles happen when trying to do one’s best. Some cases can be considered as unable to be saved, especially there was a case of cardiac arrest till 40 minutes, but Dr. Long has done his best to save the patients!

Nearly 30 years in the healthcare industry, death rate among his cases is only 0.01%, but Dr. Long is still anxious when reporting bad news to patients’ family. Feeling the pain of the patient and the sadness of their family is part of the job as a doctor.

Embracing the spirit of age 18!

The doctor nodded when he was asked that “After all these years, have you been able to explain your father’s death?” For him, it is caused by high blood pressure.

“I am going to work with FVH’s colleagues to educate the public on how to prevent heart disease and to treat the high blood pressure disease.”

In his new role, he continued to impart experience to younger doctor generations, even the experience he gained from his skillful hands of racing against the time in cardiac catheterization. The spread of knowledge is considered as a personal responsibility to society. And he was excited that the goal was supported by the FV Hospital Board.

Our story stopped at 1:30 pm. “I am having a knowledge sharing session with other colleagues.” Dr. Long informed. An admiration slipped out of my mouth when knowing that he works without lunch break. Dr. Long smiled:

“I always tell to everyone that despite of the age of 53, Dr. Long is still 18 years old inside! I will always work with the age of 18 exciting spirit!”