Nguyen Thi Vinh Thanh – A Doctor With An Empathetic Heart
Deputy Head of FV’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department Dr Nguyen Thi Vinh Thanh has a gentle face that always seems to express a deep attentiveness and carefully consideration, never failing to reassure the people surrounding her.
Talking to Dr Vinh Thanh, it is easy to see that this doctor is a perfectionist with an empathetic heart. After working with every patient, even though the scheduled work has been completed, she often asks herself: “Is this best for the patient?”, “Did I forget to do something that may benefit the patient?”
She doesn’t remember when she first began to think and feel this way, but, year on year, her need to place herself in her patients’ shoes has gradually formed a meticulous, deeply understanding personality. Over her 30-year career, Dr Vinh Thanh has become known for her special empathetic qualities.
MEDICAL FAMILY, GET TO KNOW OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY EARLY
Dr Vinh Thanh cannot hide her excitement when recalling her first time delivering a baby. “I was a trainee at Da Nang General Hospital. The feeling of looking at the baby entering her first moments of life was priceless. I was so passionate that I stayed at the hospital for three days and nights without going home; eventually my father came to find me with some bread and urged me to eat something. In those early days, I realised the strength of my love for this specialty.”
It seems that Dr Vinh Thanh did not choose the department, but it chose her. She shared: “My grandfather opened a pharmacy in Quang Nam and passed it down to my mother to support the villagers” health. Then during the war, even at midnight, if there was someone in labour, we would pack medicines and equipment and cross the paddy fields to help, sanitising everything with boiling water when we arrived. “When there is a single mother, the midwife would stay in to cook for her. In some critical cases, the midwife also had to give CPR, even using her mouth to expel sputum from the baby’s body. Everything was manual and there was no support – it was just us.”
After the war, Dr Vinh Thanh’s family moved to Da Nang to continue their pharmacy business. Many villagers came to them for help, and Dr Vinh Thanh family both sold and gave away free medicine to people in need. Over time, her family’s good deeds and her grandfather’s and mother’s stories of assisting births became ingrained in Dr Vinh Thanh’s mind. She has been immersed in the medical profession since childhood.
I AM NOT AFRAID OF BLOOD, BUT…
“I’m not afraid of blood or of using knives to perform surgery for my patients.” says Dr Vinh Thanh, although she admits she almost gave up her career in medicine when she first saw an abortion. The traumatic episode happened during her university studies and left her with horrible memories, but luckily, those images and feelings faded in time.
Dr Vinh Thanh is not afraid of blood in the operating room, but cannot bear to see blood when watching boxers fight.
And in the 1990s, when entering the largest obstetrics and gynaecology hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Dr Vinh Thanh was concerned that she might not have enough experience and could accidentally harm her patients. She took time to completely master the most basic tasks of a midwife and care assistant to ensure her first steps into the Department were to acquire a strong foundation of essential skills and knowledge.
NOT SUCCESSFUL YET BUT SATISFACTION
– Says Dr Vinh Thanh. After nearly 30 years in midwifery, caring for thousands of mothers and babies, Dr Vinh Thanh still does not recognise her own success, saying her greatest pleasure so far is to have trained many generations of doctors and passed along her experience in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology.
Deep down, Dr Vinh Thanh still has doubts whether or not she has done well for her patients – she constantly worries that she may have missed something. Fortunately, since joining FV Hospital, her concerns have been partly reduced due to the hospital’s well-established patient safety procedures. Dr Vinh Thanh has known about FV Hospital since its establishment and became a collaborative physician in 2005, but it wasn’t until April 2018 that she officially joined FV’s team. Dr Vinh Thanh says she is proud to work at FVH because it provides a good environment for doctors and patients by adhering to international standards in all aspects, from the professional conduct of staff to human resources.
Sharing her future goals, Dr Vinh Thanh says she wishes to establish a team specialising in pelvic floor care at FV Hospital. This is a relatively new segment which helps postnatal women overcome physical obstacles on their path to recovery, preventing and providing treatment for disorders and relieving pressure on the pelvic floor so that they can recover quickly after birth.
It’s clear to see that Dr Vinh Thanh uses her “sensitive” heart wisely to represent the concerns of many women, making her beloved by many patients and highly sought after.