Volunteers at FV: Bright Colours in the Fight Against Pandemic

Dr Lam Vanda (Training Doctor – Pain Control Centre)

Despite the short time working with FV, unforgettable memories have been left in the volunteers’ hearts. Simultaneously, the presence of the volunteers added bright colours to the hospital, especially during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can’t sit still during those days

The days I saw Dr Lam Vanda (Training Doctor – Pain Control Centre), working at the COVID-19 Treatment Area at FV, acting quickly, bending down near the patient to ask and care for them, and making jokes to bring smiles to his patients, every gesture shows the reason why he is here. It is not just being a doctor or the enthusiasm of being a young doctor that brought him to volunteer at FV. “I don’t like to sit still. Moreover, given the pandemic, the more I want to do something to help. Wherever people need me, I will come.” – Dr Vanda shared the reason he came to volunteer at FV.

Before volunteering to join the COVID-19 treatment team at FV, Dr Lam Vanda also participated in the treatment team and was also a patient at Cu Chi Field Hospital. Witnessing the difficulties of medical staff, sharing empathy with the sick fighting for life, has been his motivation to continuously serve the patients. If an area was full of people, he asked to go somewhere else to help. FV had better conditions for treatment and learning, and he didn’t hesitate to apply to volunteer, even though Dr Vanda’s specialty is not in infectious disease.

Nguyen Chau Thuy Nga studied and worked in the field of nursing care in Japan and recently returned to Vietnam. During the peak time of the pandemic in August, she witnessed the workload of the staff in the A&E Department and realised that she can help reduce the pressure of the nurses by caring, visiting, and chatting with patients. Even though she was participating in the team to treat COVID-19 in District 7, Nga still went to the FV A& E Department regularly to use her ability to support the international hospital, especially during the pandemic situation. 

Realising her limitation being that she doesn’t have much medical expertise, Nga came to FV with the desire to help patients as much as she could. “The first day I was excited. But after wearing protective gear, listening to Dr Hai – Head of FV A&E Department instructing me, I felt so dizzy. He said I could go home and take a rest but I felt so embarrassed” – Nga recalled a memory at the A&E Department. Facing difficult reality can make you lose your spirit and motivation. However, Nga came back the following days, she followed the nurses, the ambulance, and gave support in many tasks that she was not paid to do. Mr Pham Minh Thi (Head Nurse – FV A&E Department) shared: “Volunteers often feel hesitant because they think they can’t help much. But their motivation and presence in the A&E Department in July and August were very precious. It helped relieve the pressure on us.” Like Dr Vanda and Nga, many young people have come and supported in tasks they never done before. They have connected with FV for reasons which were greater than their own personal interest. 

Volunteering for future values

The pandemic has changed a lot of perspectives about work and life for young volunteers. After facing the helpless situation of watching a COVID-19 patient dying without being able to do anything else, Vanda – a young doctor – thought it was probably the most difficult moment to accept. He shared: “I hope that in Vietnam will create many more advanced medical facilities and skilled medical staff to help people cope with the similar pandemic situations in the future.”  

The working environment at FV allows him to “see it, hear it and do it”, following the new guidance for COVID-19 treatment. It was also the reason Dr Vanda to spent time and energy to stay at this infectious disease treatment area. Doctor Ho Minh Tuan (Head of FV Cardiology Department, Head of FV COVID-19 Treatment Department) shared: “I appreciate the work ethic of Dr Vanda. He was excited, enthusiastic, and was always eager to learn. I also hope that the working environment at FV has partly helped the volunteers gain knowledge and understand the meaning for their work and life in the future.” Although each person’s purpose may be different, may all the volunteers at FV receive the gift they want. It is of course worth their giving. 

The past two years are often referred to as the era of healthcare. No matter what medical profession you’re in, you’ll likely feel pride in yourself, or you may have a little more respect from others lately. However, regardless of the situation, those who dedicate their intelligence and effort to care and help others are always deserved to receive love, respect and gratitude from the community.