A Cambodian Help Case

“Fostering global access to leukemia treatment one patient at a time”

As I remember when I first visit TMF website to prepare myself for the interview to get this job, the motto is caught my attention and I really into it when I first started work as MaxStation – Thailand. Patient Advocacy was the position I applied for and I would do anything for a patient to get to the treatment, no matter who he/she is, where he/she come from. I have no hesitate to jump in every time when any PO asking me if I want to assist on help case, from any where in the world, especially my neighbor counties, Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao. At least I have visited those countries and found how they really need good medical systems and specialist doctors. I also feel that Thai patient took it for granted that we have such high qualities hospital, lab and doctors.

I remember in April 2009, when Danielle asked me to do the research and find information about how a Cambodian patient could take the chromosome test done in Thailand. This is pretty tough questions. I spend a week on research and found three labs that possible can provide the test. I ask for all the forms request and test cost sent to me by fax. I wrote a very detail and suggestions from my experiences into an e-mail and send back to Danielle.

Four months later, Danielle came back to me by CC me on her e-mail communication with a doctor name Dr. Mary Kluck discussing about having chromosome test for possibly an accelerated CML Cambodian patient who lives in outskirt area of Cambodia. There were many attempting for this patient to have chromosome test but have never successes, and the patient may need the medication soon. I was able to find the information from my storage folder and resent to Dr. Kluck. Dr. Kluck got back to me in a couple days later with three more questions. Two of our biggest concerns were how she was going to send the specimen to the lab in Thailand and the guidance of how to prepare the specimen is in Thai. There was no English instruction of how to prepare the specimen and would have done the translation myself but will take time since it was so technical, with a little hope that Dr. Kluck would know any Cambodia who can read Thai.

Next morning I received an e-mail from a physician who works with Dr. Kluck. He introduced himself as Dr. Kit, Thai Volunteer Physician and can read and speak Thai very well. He read the instruction and will be the person who will take the BMA of this patient since he is a surgeon. We arrange time that we both can speak in Thai and make an accurate plan. I often sharing to the other that I have seen many miracles happened since I started work in this job. Dr. Kit is the key person that we really need at this time, and he just came in the right perfect time.

Saturday morning, I called Dr. Kit in Phnom Penh, He inform that his volunteer friends, who are couple and flying to Bangkok on Monday afternoon for a health check up in a hospital, both of them could not speak Thai. I inform him that I will be there to meet up with his friends since I know that the messenger could not speak English either. Dr. Kit confirmed that patient has a symptom of CML, and he will help patient to access to a drug donation program if patient get the diagnosis result.

Monday afternoon, I called Dr. Kit in Phnom Penh, he confirmed patient BMA has been done, he faxed the cover page to the lab and get in touch with the lab director. I phone to the lab director, she happy to hear that I was coming since she worried that the messenger could not speak English. Late evening, Wasan and I went to the hospital before time, both volunteers got off the plan and arrived with the specimen tube that kept well in an ice container. Dr. Kit has sent a note with the money in Thai Baht asking me to have the messenger to provide the bill. The lab massager came half an hour after to pick it up.

It was a small pause of time before Dr. Kluck sent Danielle message inform the result indicated that this patient has Philadelphia Chromosome positive, and would be eligible to entering the drug donation program in Cambodia.

As I am seeing now patient is in GIPAP PATS which I assume that she has already started Glivec. I do hope that she would be feeling much better. You may know of how much happy we are when a patient from the middle of no where is able to access to the program and started the medicine. I think if I were a composer I would have this motto in a song to sing for those who are the survivors.

“Fostering global access to leukemia treatment one patient at a time”

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