Dana at NCMCH

At the hospital in UB, over the last week we have gotten to meet some amazing staff, patients, and parents in the Hem/Onc unit. They have all been so welcoming and appreciative for the information we were able to share with them. I lectured on oral mouth care with the nurses. After the lecture we went around and gave each patient a toothpaste and toothbrush. They were all so happy for the small gifts. I also did a question and answer section with the nurses.  I was able to watch the nurses start IVs and give chemotherapy.  I was able to observe 2 patients getting their IT MTX while awake and not moving or crying during the procedure. They are so brave!  Later in the week one of those patients gave me a rose made of clay on a long Q-tip. It was so beautiful! On our last day I went around to each room and gave the patient and parents shells from Jacksonville Beach. I loved seeing their faces light up when I gave them the shells. The doctors are working so hard to make sure that they are providing the best care possible for their patients and reviewed patients with Dr. Sandler daily. The staff had treated us to lunch each day, and dinner on Thursday night. So on Friday we wanted to get lunch for them. Guess what they wanted for their lunch? Burger King! So Burger King it was.

Where do I begin to tell you about Dr. Rita? She is an angel here on earth. She is passionate about helping the Mongolian people, you can see here love for them in her daily actions. She has worked so hard this week to help assist us with the 40+ cardiology patients who came from the countryside to be seen this week.  She saw all of the kids and then wrote up all the patient information and sharing it with Dr. Bryant, who was unable to make the trip.  She was also able to set up a Cardiology video conference for the physicians here in UB with Dr. Bryant back in the USA.

-Dana

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Return from the Countryside

The 2018 trip to Mongolia is hurriedly coming to a close. We just returned from a 4-day trip to the countryside.  We depart tomorrow evening for Florida!

Saturday was spent at Terelj National Park located east of the capital city (Ulanbataar) after touring the Chinggis Khan statue.  In Terelj, we visited Turtle Rock and a Buddhist temple followed by climbing the hillside behind our ger camp.  The views from atop the mountain were spectacular, serene and offered an opportunity to sit and think about various things in an amazing location.

On Sunday, we made our way to the west of Ulanbataar.  Our first stop was a nomadic culture show.  This was quite possibly my favorite part of the countryside. We had options of taking a short ride on a horse, camel or yak to the ger camps.  Once at the gers, we were taken into various camps to see how they are constructed, how they process animal (yak) milk into various products.  The vodka distilled from yak milk was interesting. And despite what Dr. Sander may tell you, the cheese curds are not so bad!  We were able to see how they make dried meat and felt.  They sang songs for us, took us for a spin on a yak-driven car, and allowed us to play with the lambs.  It was certainly a highlight of this countryside trip.

After the nomadic show, we made our was to Khustain National Park.  Here we sought out the very rare Przewalski horses which we found in two different locations within the park.

Monday, we made our way further west to the location of the capital of Mongolia around the 13th century (under the reign of Ogedei Kahn)…Kharkhorin.  We toured the 2nd of three main Buddhist monasteries which were largely spared destruction by the Soviets during the 1930’s (Ganda being the other one we visited in Ulanbataar). We visited the city (or “sum”) museum.

We made our way back to the capital city today and will spend tomorrow touring the city prior to a late-night departure. Of note, we were very well-fed during our entire stay in Mongolia…I need to go to the gym now!

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–Brad

Eric Reflects

As we arrive back in UB after 5 wonderful days in the Mongolia countryside, I want to reflect on last weeks adventures at the NCMCH. I think this was the best of all our trips to the hospital. Patients, parents and staff welcomed us with open arms and absolute excitement about our collaboration. I have seen so many changes at the Children’s Hospital over the last 6 years. Although there is still a long way to go, the care provided to these children has improved dramatically and the doctors seem tireless in their pursuit of cure for their patients. Old patients who we had met previously came back to say hello and I have gotten permission from Wolfson Children’s Hospital  to bring a new patient to Jacksonville for life-saving care that would not be available here in Mongolia at this time. This is what we do at Wolfson, at Nemours, at UFPTI and at UF-Jacksonville. We try to provide the best care for everyone whose path we cross to the best of our ability. And the Jacksonville community rallies around our Pediatric programs to offer the generous support that they can. I am so proud to be a part of this community.

Eric

Brad speaks

I can’t believe that we are almost finished with our week at the hospital. Today was filled once again with teaching pediatric pathologist to an incredibly eager group of people.  I had an opportunity to tour the histology laboratory and discuss with the pathologists their needs for laboratory improvement and advancement.

I want to give a shout out to Dr Rita!  She is an amazing woman who has done great things for the children in Mongolia; she accompanied me to the morning pathology lectures and gets credit for the photo below!

Only one more day…

Eric Update

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Well we just returned from a great dinner with our Ulaanbaatar family. The week has flown by. It has been so wonderful to see all the great changes that have happened since I first started coming here in 2012. Overall mortality has decreased from 18% to 6.2% and the outcomes for leukemia continue to improve every year. The formulary has expanded for chemotherapy as well as supportive care medications and all solid tumors have been moved to the Children’s Hospital where they can receive the best care from pediatric oncologists. The doctors report that the incidence of transfusion related hepatitis C has decreased dramatically thanks to new blood donor screening. Of course, their is still a lot to do but every visit things are better. The team here is so motivated to improve the care of their patients, it is a pleasure to work with them.

Big thank you to Dr. Rita and Dr. Bryant. When Dr. Bryant was unable to come at the last moment- Dr. Rita pitched in and saw almost 50 cardiology patients who had come from the countryside. She transmitted their data to Dr. Bryant and he then meet with the cardiology team here by telemedicine to answer questions about the patients and deliver lectures to the cardiology team. Another big shout-out to our friend Tim Shi and the GlobalMD team who are delivering a new telemedicine platform to the hospital to continue our ongoing collaboration. And of course to Wolfson Children’s Hospital and the Soud family for facilitating this ongoing collaboration.

Hard to believe that tomorrow will be our last day at the NCMCH and then off to the countryside!

Eric