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


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.

Kelly Komatz Day 1 at the hospital

What a wonderful and interesting day walking around the hospital in UB. A wonderful mix of old and new – nurses wearing nurses’ caps, Cath lab with all the bells and whistles but the suction canisters are on the ground. Such contrasts all around.  Wonderful physicians and staff. Beyond wonderful patients with their families. All the children and family members so willing to let us discuss their child, examine their child with no tears shed!  And the smiles all around as well as respected quiet.  Our hospital back in the States is full of too much noise. looking forward to tomorrow 🙂

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!