By Roxanne C. Millan, Esq. | Byrne Legal Group | Issue 03

In November 2019, I travelled with my husband, Daniel Millan, MD (Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia, VCU), and members of the pediatric urology team from VCU: Tony Herndon, MD, Rebecca Zee, MD, and Natalie Swavely, MD. With the support of IVUMed, an organization founded with the goal to provide urology services and engage in educational outreach in underdeveloped countries, our team partnered with local adult surgeons from Hue College of Medicine and Pharmacy and Hue Central Hospital (a 3,939 bed hospital serving nearly 25 million residents of central and highland Vietnam). The team completed operations on 21 patients, with some patients requiring more than one procedure.

In addition to performing surgical procedures, the physicians also lectured residents and medical students. While we were in Vietnam we enjoyed the hospitality of the Vietnamese people, viewed beautiful scenery and ate amazing food. I personally emerged from this experience with a newfound respect for operating room physicians. I always knew it was a mentally and emotionally challenging job; however, after long days of standing on hard floors---I learned that there is also a very real physical aspect at play. This further increased my gratitude and appreciation of those who choose to devote their time and talents to the medical profession.

It was an honor and a joy to assist these professionals, even in a solely supportive/secretarial role. I saw firsthand these patients’ quality of life improve as a result of this team’s work, and it my distinct privilege to contribute in any way.