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.

Vedad Begic Day 3 at the hospital

Presentations are done! I had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful staff of PICU and NICU. The topics requested from NCMCH were  1) Nursing Care of Ventilated Patient and 2) Pain Management in PICU. The PICU audience were quite large, approx 20 nurses and 3 Intensivists all of which were very engaged. My lectures were well received, however I am now aware that the nurses in US are preforming much more complex tasks and care than nurses in Mongolia. I have received many requests for suggestions as how to properly manage central lines, prevent CVL infections, wound care, skin care, equipment management, etc. There is still a huge lack in resources as simple as IV pumps and adhesive remover (removing a tough dressing or piece of tape of a child’s chest a couple times a week can be very painful). There is also an enormous lack of continuous education among nurses so every moment spent educating is very important. I have also found out that nurses do not need a stethoscope as they do not assess lung or bowel sounds. I cant believe that tomorrow is out last day at the hospital as there is so much more education that the staff needs. I am scheduled to spend most of tomorrow at the Hem/Onc unit and and am looking forward to making as much of an impact as possible.


Vedad Begic Day 1 at the hospital

The hospital staff has welcomed us with excitement. We got a tour of the Hem/Onc, PICU, NICU, SICU and infusion clinic. The children were so well behaved that not even one cried while being examined. As we started rounding on Hem/Onc patients, Dr. Sandler got right to work with assisting the young NCMCH physicians with diagnoses and treatment recommendations. I am scheduled to present in PICU tommorow and am very excited to see how my prepared lectures can aid the nurses there.

Vedad Begic

After touring the Mongolian west country side for several days, I have gained a new respect and perspective for the nomadic life style. Our schedule has been reversed as we were originally supposed to work in the hospital during the first week and tour the country after. In my opinion this change has worked out to our advantage as we will be able to better understand the challenges patients and families face once they have to leave the country side and adjust to the unfamiliarity of a clinical setting. The native Mongolian lifestyle is that of living off the land very far away from the nearest village. I have only seen it in movies and read about in books and magazines but to actually experience this lifestyle as our group has is really unique. Mongolians are resilient and capable people who are incredibly welcoming to strangers. Out group has visited multiple families living in Gers and in each case we have been welcomed with utmost hospitality. In one case we were supposed to sleep in tents and as the temperature plummeted to freezing overnight but a family we just met at the border of a national park offered us their Ger to sleep in while they moved to their extended family’s Ger. As if giving their home away to us for the night was not enough, they also cooked dinner for us as well as lunch for the next day. I do have to add that cooking dinner in a Ger where all food is harvested from the surrounding land and resources is a lot of work. For example, a fire is made early in the morning with dried cow dung, meat is harvested from herd of livestock, water is fetched from a nearby stream or lake and boiled, and a nearest grocery store is about 5-7 hr of a drive away. Yet they accommodated us without making us feel even slightly unwelcome. One of the other families we visited has continued the Kazakh tradition of hunting with a trained eagle which they have captured in the wild. As we approached the “eagle family home as we called them”, we noticed two wolf cubs tied off and I thought that I surely must be mistaken but I wasn’t. Not only has our group never seen a wild wolf being raised among humans but we also had the pleasure and fear of meeting the young wolfs as the owner decided to let them off their leashes so they can greet us as they have. The wolfs behaved like dogs and sniffed our legs and jumped on Dr. Mobeen

img_1940img_1949Rathore who was trying to take a selfie with the wolf cub jumping on his leg. And if that is not exciting enough, most of us got to hold a formally wild and now fully trained fox hunting eagle. The nature side is beyond Uzesgelentei (beautiful in Mongolian-my first word learned). Life in the Mongolian country is unimaginably difficult from my perspective and yet children and adults went about their daily chores as if they did not lack anything. Its off to the hospital tomorrow and I am ready to see the medical side of the journey.

Eric Sandler

Well we just spent 6 days out in the Mongolian countryside. This time in Western Mongolia- among the highest mountains in Mongolia. Once you get past what they affectionately call “roads” – dirt tracks across the mountains, the scenery is breath taking,  the people so warm and friendly. At one spot, the park ranger and his wife moved out of their Ger so that we could all stay there. And then shared their wonderful Kasak meals with us. Of course having the most awesome guide- Doogii and the best driver in Mongolia- Chuka, who have been with us on all prior trips made it even more special.

Onward to UB and the children’s hospital. … And judging by our group so far, a lot more shopping!