Kelly Komatz

Final reflections.  We have returned from our trip to Mongolia.  I have been reviewing some photos and thinking a lot about our trip to the hospital.  The staff were all very welcoming and eager to learn from us from the nurses to the physicians. Their eagerness however can only go so far when they care for these wonderful children with limited resources and interesting policies.  The patients and families are unforgettable. The respect they show to all staff members is beyond anything you will experience in the States. The children are so eager to please and at times seem reserved until their smiles light up their faces and the entire room. I am eager to return to assist in the further development of the palliative care program as well as to assist in the developmental center. Thank you once again to all that have made this trip possible for me personally, but most importantly for the staff and children at the national hospital!

Vedad Begic

2016 trip to Mongolia has ended and I have returned home safely with so many new memories and some very important realizations. My travel companions are experts of their trades and their readiness for adventure and ability to focus on the positive perspective in some uncomfortable situations, has allowed for maximum exploration of the beautiful Mongolia and its people. Thank you Dr. Sandler for inviting me join your 2016 team, thank you Dr. Mobeen and Dr. Sumra for being so cheerful and ready to explore Mongolia to the fullest, Thank you Dr. Komatz and Peter for being supportive and always ready to proceed with out next adventure.

By joining this medical mission I have had the pleasure of witnessing just how powerful Jonathan Soud’s dream was. I have witnessed first hand how much positive influence and difference has been made to the NCMC all due to Jonathan’s interest in Mongolia. It just goes to show how much good one great person can make in the world.

The NCMC hospital still has many improvements to make in the time to come. Out team has identified many areas that need improvements and has already started working on a plan of action for the next year. Some of the issues are very simple and yet would greatly improve the recovery time of the patients as well as minimize complications and save resources. Educating the nursing staff is another major area that would benefit with further involvement of joint efforts. The hospital staff is eager to learn and has asked for education resource such as books on multiple occasions.

I hope that this relationship with NCMC will continue for many more years as there is so much work to be done. I feel fortunate for being able to join and to be able to contribute to the mission of improving the healthcare of Mongolia.

Eric Sandler Last day in Hospital


Well, today we finished our work at NCMCH in Ulaanbaataar, Mongolia. What a week- we were really welcomed like old friends. Although there are still many opportunities for improvement ( infection control, palliative care, chemotherapy management), it is amazing how much improvement I see year to year. I have no doubt that children in Mongolia are getting better care then they were 5 years ago when this project started. The next part of our mission starts on October 22 when one of the Hem Onc docs from UB joins us for a 2 month observation visit to Jacksonville. I am so thankful to my colleagues from both this trip as well as the last 4, for donating their time, knowledge and effort to this project. And of course none of this would be possible without the ongoing support of Dr. Rita Browning, the inspiration for what we do, the Soud family, WCH and the entire Jacksonville community for their contributions and my wife Marcy and my family, who put up with my absences for this important work! Can’t wait to see next years team. They have even asked for a special team of nurses who can provide professional development for the nursing staff.

Kelly Komatz Day 3 at the hospital

Okay folks! Today was the day to top all days. For everyone who knows me personally and professionally – I get to sit on a carpet, barefooted and examine patients all day and explain as best as I can without taking away hope that their child will be disabled, might not walk, but only time will tell. I was so blessed to spend the day in a developmental center that is funded only through donations where children are able to be seen by a neurologist and physical therapists for one week. During that time, the child is able to receive intensive therapies and the parents are taught through hands-on experience how to continue the therapies at home once they leave. They receive their lunch there as well as the potential for donated equipment. The parents have traveled from every corner of Mongolia – carrying the medical records and x-rays. The questions from the mothers are no different from any other country – will my child be able to walk? Will they be able to attend to school? Is there a shot or medicine to help my child get better? Even though I don’t know the language, I recognized the body language and it is the same – slumped shoulders in mothers, long pauses while the information sets in, looks of disappointment. Again, those who know me understand that this work is hard, but I also feel it necessary to assist – even in translation to give hope to parents while also needing to be open and frank.
Thank you again to Johnathan Soud’s family for this opportunity. I promise you, my time spent here will not go to waste.

Eric Sandler Day 2 at the hospital

Just finished our second full day at the Children’s Hospital and it truly did feel like returning to friends. So much had improved over the last 5 years since I have been coming here- but a lot more to go. One of our goals- accomplished is that the children with solid tumors are now being treated at the Children’s hospital rather then the national cancer center- a very big improvement. The oncologists are not yet comfortable with the solid tumors treatments as it is completely new to them. But they now have the medicines as well as the treatment protocols and we are spending time going over the details. My team are all working very hard, lecturing, consulting and helping- but I think all are having a great time.img_0597img_0608

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