NEWS Patients from Rural Laos Overcome Thyroid Cancer and Heart Disease in Korea 2023.04.25

Patients bound for Korea with the help from AMC Medical Volunteers…Surgeries successful

"Meeting the medical staff at Asan Medical Center is a miracle come true" "Kawp Khun Ka (Thank You)!"


▲ With the help of AMC Medical Volunteers, Ms. Ya Xiong (second from the left), who underwent thyroid cancer surgery in Korea, is taking a commemorative photo with the medical staff on April 21 in good health.

(far left) Professor Woo Seok Kang who invited Ms. Ya Xiong to Korea and (third from the left) Professor Yoon-se Lee who performed the surgery


Ms. Ya Xiong, a slash-and-burn farmer from Laos who could not even dream of visiting a hospital despite the large, hard lump on her neck, and Ms. Xaysavat Ve, who could barely walk a short distance without losing her breath, have both regained their health in Korea with the help of the Medical Volunteers from Asan Medical Center.


Asan Medical Center recently announced that Ms. Ya Xiong (37), a thyroid cancer patient whom the Medical Volunteers met in Laos at the end of February, and Ms. Xaysavat Ve (19), a congenital heart disease patient, safely received treatment in Korea and returned to Laos on April 24.


Ms. Ya Xiong had been feeling uneasy due to the lump in her neck, but as she was living a hard life as a slash-and-burn farmer where bodies were buried in the mountain, she had no choice but to give up on visiting a hospital. Then, she heard a hopeful news that medical professionals from Korea were providing free medical treatment, and rushed to the local provincial hospital where the medical team was located.


AMC Medical Volunteers had prepared an ultrasound machine from Korea, considering the poor medical environment in Laos, and was able to conduct an examination on Ms. Ya Xiong. The ultrasound results showed a tumor in her neck.


Professor Woo Seok Kang of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Asan Medical Center determined that Ms. Ya Xiong needed surgery. However, in Laos, even conducting a tissue examination was difficult, let alone cancer surgery. Therefore, the decision was made to transfer Ms. Ya Xiong to Korea for treatment.


Finally, on April 7, Ms. Ya Xiong arrived at Asan Medical Center and underwent a detailed examination. The results showed that her thyroid cancer had progressed significantly and there was a high risk of it invading the nerves, which could have led to difficulties with swallowing and changes in her voice if left untreated for any longer.


Fortunately, on April 11, under the guidance of Professor Yoon-se Lee, a surgery to remove the thyroid cancer was successfully performed at Asan Medical Center. Ms. Ya Xiong recovered quickly after the surgery and left for her hometown in Laos on April 24.


Ms. Ya Xiong said, "Meeting the medical staff at Asan Medical Center was a miracle. I am grateful to the medical staff who treated me, and I want to show my children in Laos what a healthy mother looks like as soon as possible."


Meanwhile, Ms. Xaysavat Ve, who had suffered from ventricular septal defect since birth, was also transferred to GangNeung Asan Hospital and underwent surgery to repair the defect by Professor Bo-bae Jeon of the Department of Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery on April 14. Ms. Xaysavat Ve had already missed the optimal time for surgery, and as a result, her heart was much larger than normal.


In order to perform a successful surgery on Ms. Xaysavat Ve, a congenital heart disease patient, Professor Tae-Jin Yun of the Division of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Asan Medical Center personally went to GangNeung Asan Hospital to assist in the surgery. Ms. Xaysavat Ve made a smooth recovery and returned to her family in Laos with Ms. Ya Xiong.


The medical expenses and airfare for the patients from Laos were fully supported by the Asan Foundation and Asan Medical Center.


From February 18 to 25, AMC Medical Volunteers visited the Oudomxay province in Laos to carry out volunteer activities. Oudomxay province in Laos is an area with a poor healthcare environment and health insurance system where appropriate and timely medical treatment is not available to many residents.


A total of 62 people, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and administrative staff, participated in the Laos medical volunteer trip. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the overseas medical volunteer program to help people in medically underserved areas had been temporarily suspended since the last visit to Cambodia in January 2020, but it resumed after a three-year hiatus.


AMC Medical Volunteers, composed of specialists in their respective fields, provided medical treatment for a total of 1,980 patients during the three days. Medical services were provided for various conditions involving Gastroenterology, Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine, Otolaryngology, etc. Surgeries and procedures were performed, including 18 surgical operations, 20 cataract surgeries, and 27 ophthalmic procedures. 14 endoscopies, 241 ultrasounds, and 50 electrocardiograms.