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12/09/2018 - 07:55

PROFESSOR, DOCTOR ALAIN GARY-BOBO: The patient's smile is my happiness

More than 20 years ago, a medical expert from Montpellier University in France came to Hue and was truly sad to witness the poor patients and the lack of equipment at Hue Central Hospital. Since then, he has been regularly returning to Hue to share his love with patients. At the same time, he supports equipment and machinery, and transfers new technology to many doctors in the Central region of Vietnam. He is professor, Doctor Alain Gary-Bobo.


Professor, doctor Alain Gary-Bobo

The heart’s command

Through the introduction of doctors in Hue, recently I met him at the Department of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery, International Treatment Center, Hue Central Hospital. A gentleman with a face edged by time was examining medical records before greeting me with a friendly smile. “What information do you need from me?” “I just want to know some information about a foreigner who has given so much love to Hue,” I answer. He gave a gentle laugh.

Previously at Montpelier University, he got to know and became close friends with a doctor from Hue Central Hospital who came to do research and be trained as a resident doctor. That person is Professor Pham Nhu Hiep, Director of Hue Central Hospital today. At that time, through professor Hiep, he got to know about Hue with the names of the villages where the people suffered from diseases as a result of war.

In 1989, when he first came to Vietnam and visited Hue Central Hospital, his heart ached for those who were in a state of serious illness, waiting for surgery in the shortage of facilities and medical equipment. He said: “My heart went out for those colleagues who had to treat patients in such poor conditions and out-of-date facilities and equipment.”

After that occasion, he encouraged his relatives and friends to raise money and saved money from his own salary to buy equipment and tools to support Hue Central Hospital. In 2002, he bought a new modern laparoscopic surgical machine that had just appeared in French market. At that time, Professor Hiep had just received training in the field of laparoscopic surgery abroad. He applied his knowledge and used the new equipment to do laparoscopic surgery on patients. Hue Central Hospital became the address people went to in the Central Highland area. It was also a great turning point for Hue Central Hospital, from doing open surgery to routine laparoscopic surgery, with 500 to 600 cases a year, which is tens of times higher than before.

Prof. Dr. Alain Gary-Bobo (right) discussed with colleagues before plastic surgery for patients at Hue Central Hospital

Although thousands of miles away from the hospital, he was truly moved when he heard the news that patients are getting laparoscopic surgery more than ever at Hue Central Hospital. Since then, he regularly arranged work in Hue to work with colleagues from Hue Central Hospital to exchange expertise, support equipment and machinery in different departments, contributing to the improvement of the quality of medical examination and treatment for patients.

Recalling the old story, he mentioned each milestone in Hue. From his first steps in Hue to 2015, he has been in Hue 7 times. Each visit was a quiet journey but each of his visits made an unforgettable impression on his colleagues and patients.

The clearest example is his visit in 1998, when he performed breast reconstruction surgery for breast cancer patients and transferred this technique to many doctors in Hue. This was the first technique available in Hue Central Hospital. Since then, his name has been associated with the development of plastic and aesthetic surgery in Vietnam. What makes him happier is hearing news of the women who had undergone surgery for breast reconstruction 20 years ago at Hue Hospital, who are still in good health.

When asked about the cost of travelling to Hue, he laughed and told me that it is measured only by the conscience of a man living on the other side of the ocean but is always heavy hearted with Hue.

Making time for Hue

During the conversation, I learned more about his relatives and friends. Despite encouraging and supporting his work, everyone is worried about the climate, his irregular eating and drinking habits, and the chance that he might get sick without any relatives by his side.

However, his love for Hue is bigger than all the small inconveniences that he has to face. When he retired, he was invited by Prof. Pham Nhu Hiep to become a technical expert in plastic and aesthetic surgery at the International Treatment Center, Hue Central Hospital. Not only due to sentiment, but his returns to Hue began to increase, perhaps due to fate.

Recently, at Hue Central Hospital, he not only transferred technology to his colleagues, but also participated in the CME (continuous training) class on techniques to perform plastic and aesthetic surgery in the facial and jaw musculoskeletal areas for post graduate students in the Central region. In his spare time, he investigates critical illness situations in order to support medicine, and personal facilities and motivate them to overcome the pain.

In these August days, Dr. Gary-Bobo in his blue coat, along with his colleagues at the International Treatment Center, does plastic and aesthetic surgery consultations for patients. On average, there are no fewer than 20 cases per day; of which 2 to 3 cases of surgery are conducted by means of equipment and tools he brought from France, such as lights, ultrasonic scalpel which does not make patients bleed...

Talking with me before going into the surgery room, he said: "Many people are unlucky to have deformed faces and shapes due to congenital disease or war impact. This is one of my concerns. I hope that with more than 30 years of experience in the profession, I will help them get rid of the embarrassment from their deformity and help them integrate into the community better. To me, the smile of the patient is my happiness. "

Dr. Le Thua Trung Hau, Vice President of International Treatment Center, Hue Central Hospital, Head of Department of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery said: "Helping poor patients and colleagues at Hue Central Hospital is not easy for a leading professor and doctor in France. If Dr. Gary-Bobo did not have a big heart and love for his work and his colleagues at Hue Central Hospital, it would have been difficult for him to do such meaningful work. "

Story and photos: Minh Truong