Volunteer Doctor Fills Void In Vietnamese Community - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/16/05

Volunteer Doctor Fills Void In Vietnamese Community

She works with no lights and no running water, in a room the size of a storage closet.  Dr. Ngoc Pham seems oblivious to the sweltering heat as she sees patients who barely speak any English.

Dr. Ngoc Pham said "We're all very limited in things that we can do, but we've seen things from 5 and 7 month pregnant women, to patients coming in with unusual rashes from the water".

Dr. Pham helped set up a make-shift clinic at the Buddhist Temple in East Biloxi. She's here as an evacuee, pressured to leave her home and clinic in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Pham said "There's a big Vietnamese community here. I thought it would be a great place to do volunteer work in the medical field. It's a big community".

She arrived to find a community desperate for a Vietnamese-speaking doctor.

Dr. Pham said "I think they've been a little more willing to come, especially with the language barrier. It's a little bit easier for them to come and communicate with us".

Relying on supplies and medication she salvaged from her New Orleans clinic, and donations from churches and pharmacies, Dr. Pham has been able to treat dozens of patients.

Dr. Pham said "It just felt like you wanted to do something when you're watching the news, that type of thing, especially in the medical field. It was definitely a blessing to come to an area that you definitely can serve, in your own community".

A community that can breathe a little easier, now that they have someone who can help take care of their medical needs. The clinic is located in the Buddhist Temple on Oak Street. Dr. Pham and another doctor are looking for a new location, and they say it's not associated with any religion, so more people will feel comfortable using it.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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