US doctor to perform series of free tumor surgeries in Hanoi, Saigon

By Thuy Vi   November 20, 2016 | 07:37 pm PT
US doctor to perform series of free tumor surgeries in Hanoi, Saigon
Doctor McKay McKinnon checks a woman with facial tumor during his visit to Ho Chi Minh City in 2014. Photo by VnExpress/Thien Chuong
The hospitals are trying to raise funds so the patients can stay for free.

An American plastic surgeon who has already saved many Vietnamese lives by removing giant tumors including a 90-kilogram case that made global headlines in 2012 is returning to Vietnam next week.

Dr. McKay McKinnon will arrive in Hanoi on November 26 and treat patients at Vinmec International Hospital and the leading public hospital Viet-Duc. He will move to Ho Chi Minh City on December 4 for one week to treat patients at the University Medical Center, and possibly those at Cho Ray, Children’s Hospital No.2 and the France-Vietnam Hospital.

It will be McKinnon’s eighth visit to Vietnam, and once again he will be offering his services for free.

The Chicago-based doctor started coming to Vietnam to remove giant, life-threatening tumors in 2012. Many of his patients have been in their 20s and 30s, while one was as young as four and suffering from multiple tumors that made him unable to lie down normally.

In January 2012, he and colleagues at the FV Hospital in HCMC performed a 10-hour surgery to remove a 90-kilogram tumor from the leg of a 32-year-old man, a case that made headlines worldwide.

Nguyen Duy Hai had developed the tumor at the age of four and it just kept growing. He got to live tumor-free for nearly two years before dying in late 2013 due to respiratory failure.

McKinnon’s visits have been arranged and sponsored by Canadian charity Virtual Medical Miracle Network, the Vovicare charity run by ethnic Vietnamese living in Australia, American non-profit VinaCapital Foundation that runs health and education projects for Vietnamese children and youth, and the Detech science and technology development company.

VinaCapital has withdrawn from the project this year to focus more on congenital heart cases in Vietnam.

Although the Vietnamese doctors attending the project also work for free, the hospitals have been working hard to raise funds to cover the facilities.

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, head of the Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Department at the University Medical Center in HCMC, said it has a list of more than 20 patients, most of whom are under 18 and suffering facial tumors.

Tuan said each case will have a hospital fee of around $2,000, and the hospital will not be able to cover the entire cost.

“We can only provide certain support,” he said.

He said the hospital had not managed to raise much money for the upcoming surgeries.

“The patients have been asking me a lot but I cannot say if we can do the operation this time or not.”

He said the patients’ public health insurance may only cover a third of the fee.

If you want to contribute, call University Medical Center (+84) 8 3855 4269 or Tuan directly at (+84) 913 910 789.

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