Archive for the ‘Patients’ Category

RCRC Success Stories

RCRC provides quality physiotherapy service to patients in our clinic, in the Chey Chumneas Referral Hospital and in the community. Now the numbers of patients is increasing by getting more referral from medical staff members at hospital, spreading by word of mouth in the community, and from other partners.

Our Senior Physiotherapist, Sokny has prepared the stories of four of our patients: two children and two adults. In his own words, he describes the work the physiotherapy team has done and how this has improved the lives of the patients and their families. All these patients have given their consent for their stories to be made public.                                         

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Rose Cambodia Rehabilitation Centre video

Sopheap and her new leg :)

Sopheap is a 44 year old grandmother living in a very basic house with just one room, and two outside walls. The other two walls are tarps. The wind and rain belted down for about 20 minutes while we were visiting, which was an experience in itself. Such limited shelter in those conditions. She has diabetes, a common condition in Cambodia, and as a result had her leg amputated last year. By the time Sopheap was referred to us, she was very weak and did not have enough strength to move around, or stand on one leg. She was not suitable to be fitted with a prosthesis until she had enough strength.

Sokny worked with Sopheap and she practiced her exercises regularly at home, developing her strength. This month, we took her to Veteran’s International (VI) who assessed her and cast her for a prosthesis. Last week she was fitted with it. We followed her up at home yesterday to assess her progress and work on gait re-training. She has only had one fitting, and will need some adaptions made at her next VI appointment, but she is already doing extremely well!! She is very happy, saying she is now able to move around the village and visit her friends. She is looking forward to learning how to walk without the crutches. Great work Sopheap!!

Busy times in the Rehab area

Lots of action in the hospital and rehab area of late, here’s a few pics of some of the things going on, and a brief summary of just a few of the patients.

Chan Chea ended up undergoing surgery on her right foot in January, which initially was a great success, which the foot position gained a great improvement. However, as can happen with any surgery, and the risk is certainly higher in a country like Cambodia, a complication did occur. Chan Chea developed a nasty pressure sore on the top of her foot, where the plaster was rubbing. This may have had something to do with poor nutrition and blood supply, making her skin more vulnerable. She was placed on a nutritional supplement and the wound healing process began. This has been a very long process, with some complex casting being required to try and maintain her foot in a good position, whilst at the same time leaving the wound area free. We are really happy to report that Chan Chea has coped really well with this complication and is up and about working on her walking as much as she can!

Another young man we’ve encountered lately contacted tetanus from a knife wound in his leg. This caused extreme rigidity and ongoing joint and muscle contractures remain, but slowly, he is recovering and gaining more movement.

Rhetsa is one year on from her hand burn and skin graft, and is doing remarkably well. As she grows, her scar will need to be closely monitored to ensure contractures are avoided. As young children grow, their scarred skin sometimes cannot stretch enough, and contractures can result.

Niza is a young girl who sustained significant burns to the back of her thighs and bottom. She has healed well and is now able to run, squat and play comfortably.

Student experiences at Rose Rehab

Jess (Volunteer Rose Cambodia Rehab Center) writes…

March 1st, 2011 | Author: gwillg


(See also Jess’s blog…click)

During a brief study abroad in 2005, I toured a clinic operated by RoseCharities in Phnom Penh and was impressed by the efficiency and dedication of the medical workers there. In fact, this was the clinic that first sparked my interest in becoming a doctor. It was one of the few NGOs my class visited that offered both immediate and long-term relief to people struggling through the effects of poverty: immediate relief through life-saving medical procedures that would have been otherwise impossible for the clinic’s patients, and long-term benefits through community outreach programs and an emphasis on improving the quality of life in Cambodia.Even in the few short weeks we spent in Cambodia studying aid organizations, it was easy to become discouraged by the waste, and sometimes obvious corruption, that plagued well-intentioned charities, but the Rose Clinic seemed to stretch every dollar it received. As I saw firsthand in 2005, a $20 donation to RoseCharities can restore a person’s sight, and $50 can repair a cleft palate or give a child the ability to walk. For more information on how to donate to RoseCharities, please see

The organization’s efficiency can be traced to its formation, as outlined on the RoseCharities homepage:

“Founded by aid workers who were disillusioned by the waste and bureaucracy often seen in international aid, we started in Cambodia in 1998. The aim was to deliver effective, sustainable programmes directly to those in need, with minimal bureaucracy, and with transparency at every stage….We are run by volunteers, so administration costs are kept to a bare minimum, with 98% of donations going directly to support our work.”

- RoseCharities

I contacted Rose last October and asked if they’d be willing to take us in for a few weeks as volunteers, and they graciously agreed. Since then, Bill and Jan Johnston have been bending over backwards to find opportunities to put our random interests and talents to work. We started last Wednesday with a short tour of the gynecology ward in the Chey Chumnas General Hospital in Takmao, the hospital where Rose Cambodia is based. That afternoon we helped enter patient files into the computer (data entry is a rare example of a skill that Danielle and I both possess).

Thursday we traveled to the countryside with Sokny, the physical therapist on staff at the Rose office, to work with a woman who had laid in bed for 30 years after a debilitating bout with encephalitis (for more info visit the Rose Rehab page: The physical therapists at Rose have been working with her to help her gain the strength to sit up, and in order to get her hands moving Danielle brought a bunch of art supplies. We made simple shapes for her to paint in, and Danielle taught her a few strokes. Danielle and I were so absorbed in watching her work that it took a while to notice the dozen or so kids from the village in a semicircle around her, jealously watching her paint. It was a great visit. As we left, Danielle hung some of her paintings next to her bed with ribbon.

On the way back to the office, we stopped to visit a woman who had been badly burned on her legs by gasoline, and the physical therapists changed a bandage for her. Apparently a skin graft had failed to take, so there was still a gaping wound behind her left knee months after the accident. While we were visiting her, her neighbors brought another potential patient to see the therapists and placed him on the bed next to her. The man had been in a motorcycle accident and could no longer move the left side of his arm. The physical therapists assessed him and made an appointment to see him later at the clinic.

As we were about to leave, the neighbors convinced the therapists to see a woman next door who was having trouble walking. While the physical therapists did their thing, Danielle and I hung back and smiled shyly at some very friendly older women, who seemed to be staring at us. One of them started talking, half at us and half at the women around her. She then started wiping at her nose, as if to inform me that I powdered sugar on the end of mine, so I self-consciously started doing the same but she just laughed. One of the therapists translated, “She wants your nose.” This seemed hysterical at the time, so Danielle and I giggled about it for a while.

After the therapists had finished their work we got back in the tuk tuk, but before we could go there was some kind of commotion. The lady who couldn’t stop looking at my nose jumped into the tuk tuk and handed us each a coconut and a straw. We very gratefully accepted and drove off.

We made one last stop to see a beautiful young girl who was working with the therapists to build the strength in her arms and legs, and then we took a holiday all weekend (2 working days is long enough…)

Today Bill gave us a tour of the Rose Eye Clinic just outside Phnom Penh in the morning, and Danielle and I returned in the afternoon to observe glaucoma surgeries. We watched for 2 and a half hours as nearly a dozen patients underwent the 20-30 minute procedure. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

I may move to Cambodia when I’m a doctor just so I can operate in flip flops

More to come on what we’ve been doing with our play time in this wonderful country.

Posted by Jess at 2/21/2011

Tot, one week after operation.. all well

Surgery arranged for little ‘Tot, boy with fused jaw

Little5year old Cambodian ‘Tot’ who has the fused jaw has now had his surgery arranged. Dr Veronica Ventura    of Community Health Development Cambodia. Rehabilitation will be assisted by Rose Rehab Cambodia and Founder/Director Joanna Thomson (Rose Charities Australia)   He will fly down to Singapore for the operation which will be on the 4th January 2011.   Funds are still needed both fro Tot’ s surgery and rehabilitation, but also for his education and any special needs for return to life.   .  Funds are still needed.  Rose Charities is collecting for the Tot fund in Canada and in the USA (in both, tax receipts are given). Please say donation is for ‘Tot’

(click image to enlarge)

Dr Veronica Venturas efforts for Tot have been simply amazing. She has worked day and night to ensure the best possible outcome for Tot. There is every chance that this little boy will rehabilitate to a happy, educated life.  Bravo Dr Ventura….

The Mural Project

Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, Her Excellency, Ms Penny Richards, was thrilled to be a part of the Epic Arts/Rose Rehab Mural Celebration on Friday 22nd October, 2010. We feel very honoured to have had her attend and participate in our celebration and recognition of the amazing abilities of all people. Joanna (Rose Rehab) and fellow Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD), Naomi Gow of Epic Arts, were successful in gaining a small assignment support grant from AYAD to run the Mural Project together. Rose Rehab needed the big white wall in the therapy area to be brought to life, and Epic Arts, being an organisation that aims to promote empowerment, integration and acceptance of people with disabilities through art, dance and music programs seemed the perfect partner. By networking with Epic Arts, we are forging a new relationship where health, arts and vocational training will be used to inspire and empower people with disabilities.
For the week of the 18th October until the 22nd, we were lucky enough to have Epic Arts students, all of whom are deaf, teach people with disabilties in the art of mural painting. 6 women with physical disabilties from the Prey Veng Supportive Homes and several patients from Rose Rehab participated in the project, as well as many hospital staff, children, and passers by. For the entire week, disability of the participants was not recognised. Everyone was given a go, everyone participated, and everyone was on an equal level. The participants themselves reported this as being one of the best things about the week, that everyone was respected. Another participant commented that for this week, she was doing her first ever job and she felt no discrimination.
The impact of conducting this project during this week was enormous. So many people joined; the tuk tuk driver, the cleaner, the interpreter, the children whose mother was in the maternity ward. It was such a positive vibe, with the awe of onlookers obvious as they marvelled at the ability of people in wheelchairs, or with no hands, to paint such a beautiful mural. Everyone was patient, and everyone helped out other people. Adaptions were made where necessary, and everyone felt included and valued.

We begin with a very big blank wall! Straight to the cutting in

Already looking good with the base coats The drawings begin, Roath and Sokna

The wall is really alive now!!!

And the absolutely marvellous finished product. Congratulations to everyone!!

A very proud bunch!

Friday afternoon buzzed with excitement as the celebrations began. We were fortunate enough to have Master Kong Nai, famous Cambodian blind musician, play for us through out the ceremony, as well as a vibrant performance from the very skilled ‘Tiny Toones’. Tiny Toones Cambodia uses breakdancing, Hip-Hop music, and the contemporary arts as creative tools to empower the youth of Cambodia to live healthier lives free of HIV and drugs, build a more promising future by furthering their educational opportunities, and become positive role models for their community. They welcome all youth to participate in its programs, regardless of gender, social-economic status, physical handicaps, family background, or other personal disadvantages. Their performance was quite spectactular on Friday! All participants received certificates of achievement to both a loud round of applause and ‘deaf clapping’, which is shimmering of your hands up by your head!
Blind musician, Master Kong Nai, plays through out the ceremony

Dr Nous Sarom, Dr Prak Phorn (Chief of Operational District), Her Excellency Ms Penny Richards, Joanna, Naomi Gow (Epic Arts), Mr Ull Meng Hour (Prey Veng)

Chan Chea stands and walks to receive her certificate, with the very kind, and unprompted assistance from a young ‘Tiny Toone’. Example of the respect and consideration for all that was evident throughout the week.

Srey Tum receives her certificate as the audience watch on and enjoy

Tiny Toones perform!!

Dr Nous Sarom (Rose Charities and Vice Director of Chey Chumneas Hospital and Dr Kong Chhunly (Director of Chey Chumneas) address the audience

Her Excellency, Ms Penny Richards, with local Rose Rehab staff members, and below with Prey Veny women and Mr Ull Meng Hour

A fabulous end to an amazing week. Congratulations to all who participated in the mural project, it was such a success!
Recognising Ability ~ Every Person Counts

Srey Tung – she wants to read and write

And why shouldn’t she? She’s 29 years old, and has had a disability almost her entire life. She was never given the opportunity to go to school, or to learn, or to work, or to do anything fulfilling in her life. Might I add – disability can actually be seen as the result of attitudes and practices that prevent people from enjoying economic participation, social inclusion and equality, rather than the result of an individual’s impairment. Srey Tung’s situation depicts this very much – her role in life so far – simply to exist. Lying on the bed in the corner. You know what? She wants this to change. Her family also want this now. Below you can see Srey Tung lying where she has spent so many years lying.

The two pictures below were taken last week, at our first village visit to Srey Tung. Wow, did she pull a crowd! These pics show just a few of the many onlookers. Not a lot of privacy in the villages, everyone wanted to see what was happening. And they were intrigued. Srey Tung was out from the bed in the corner, and doing things they’d never seen her do before. From this session, Srey Tung decided she wanted to be able to sit independently. Such a functional position for socialising, eating, drinking, and generally seeing the world as it happens. Not to mention the other health benefits that come from positional changes and sitting up. All of her bodily systems will improve.

Coming back today, she draws even more of a crowd. Srey Tung is not nervous today, either. She is happy, talkative, and expressive. Something we were yet to see.

Srey Tung’s strength and endurance today was impressive. Previously, she could not hold any position of anti-gravity on her own for more than a second. Today, she was able to almost independently arrange herself and push up onto her forearms when lying on her tummy. And she could stay there for a minute. A huge improvement. And she was far less uncomfortable. Whilst still working very hard, she was happy and smiling through out. And extremely grateful when given the opportunity to rest!

In particular, a woman, who turns out to be Srey Tung’s neighbour, was there today and was so involved with the treatment session. She was encouraging, and assisted where she could. She listened, and wanted to learn ideas. She had discussions with Srey Tung’s father, passing on ideas. This lovely lady was astounded, completely surprised at what she was seeing Srey Tung do. She had no idea she would be able to do any of the things she was doing today. She really wants to see Srey Tung progress even further.
With all the chatting going on today, the topic of reading and writing was raised. Srey Tung revealed she cannot read, and she cannot write. But she would like to. Do something everyday. Learn. Be counted.
That’s the next aim – to find a way to get some education for Srey Tung. She is able to hold a pen, and even though not formally tested, I’m sure she has the cognitive ability to learn to read.

This story really highlights the lack of awareness amongst Cambodian communities regarding disability. Very, very slowly attitudes are changing, and this is helped by the implementation of the National Law on Disability in 2009. There is a long way to go, but slowly as the country recognises the rights of people with disabilities, and health awareness progresses, opportunities will hopefully arise for all people to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

Chan Chea – walking is in her sights!

So we’re still plugging away with Chan Chea, who is desperate to walk! She talks about how she feels everything has improved – her ability to eat, drink, reach for things, sit up, move around – but what she wants even more, is to walk. And you see, this is a reasonable and realistic goal for Chan Chea. I believe she will get there. She believes she will get there. She practices every morning, and has the support from her entire family. The photo above was taken last week, where she was significantly improved. But today, she had improved yet again. Below you can see Sokny and Chan Chea’s brother helping her to walk, slowly reducing the support required, and walking a lot further with less rests.

The video below was taken when we first arrived this morning – no warm up, no preparation. Chan Chea just stood up, and started stepping out from the bed on her own. Brilliant.