Speech of Dr Sum Tran on March 26, 2018

Professor Thanh and Faculty
Distinguish Guests,Colleagues,

First of all,we thank the Rector of Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy giving out today The Certificate Of Appreciation to The Trantien Foundation for the philanthropic works and academic contribution at Hue for last 10 years. Please let me talk about compassionate medicine of the global plastic surgery.

The noble objective of medicine related to human health and life is to help others, cure the illnesses and save lives. But in reality the plastic surgery only help healthy people with some “so called disliked abnormalities” but most the suffering of those with severe physical odeformities and disfigurements from injuries, burns, trauma, disease, or birth defects. Literally it enhances the normal beauty or rebuild a better body part to get a similar function to improve the activities of life. The plastic Surgeon obtain the beautiful success when the patients could change their disabled life to a self-sufficient one for themselves, their family and society.

All medical personnel must have medical ethics including necessary personal ethics, family ethics and society ethics together with culture and religion. Let’s think that medical ethics start with one own struggles against professional conscience. It is necessary to make sacrifices without thinking about self-interests, without monetary benefits making decisions. But it is also reasonable and just for both patients and doctors.

The Dalai Lama had said “ I am a physician like you but you take care of the illnesses while I am taking care of the religious aspects of improving karma. No karma no illness”. Therefore, doctors have to know about socio-psychology and morality to lead patients. It’s the real Teacher in taking good care of patients. These ethics require a sincere and friendly character leading to the love of patients in compassionate medicine.

In the early days of the establishment of Hue Medical School, the Freiburg University of Germany sent young German doctors with their unique courage and dedication as the first and early faculty members to arrive to Hue City. Foremost, these teachers brought a deep love of humanity to treat the sick that did not share the same language or the color of their skin. The German Education Group under the guidance of Dr Krainick deeply impressed me with medicine without borders, and love for humanity without racial discrimination.

But my life began to change when my medical school sent me as an intern to the Barsky Unit in Saigon. From his early experiences with the Hiroshima Maidens after World War II treating patients with severe burn deformities from the atomic bomb, to his development of a dedicated reconstructive surgical unit in the midst of war-ravaged Saigon during the war in Vietnam, Dr. Barsky was a nonpolitical pioneer of global plastic surgery. Dr. Barsky’s efforts in global surgery were built on the principles of sustainability, collaborative partnerships, and equitable care for the poor. In synchronization with a growing foundation of updated knowledge, improved education and training of in-country personnel, this will continue to be the key to assuring a sustainable reduction in the burden of plastic surgical disease. The Barsky unit was where love for humanity conquered war disasters and casualties. Compassion and love for others of Dr. Barsky and later his fellows Dr. Silver ,now Dr Keegan should serve as shining examples to all physicians serving in impoverished countries by the respected medical profession for their responsibility, devotion , passion and humanitarian service. The lessons of its history ontinue to serve as a testament to the importance of the Project Hue as an inspiration and a challenge since 2008.

The project is to focus on reconstructive plastic surgery for underprivileged patients for humanity, compassion and to provide updated refresher courses and training to local physicians. The purpose is to ease the Vietnamese people’s suffering from injuries, burns, trauma, diseases or birth defects that have left them with severe physical deformities, and psychological scars of disfigurement and marked disabilities. Reconstructive plastic surgery by complicated and advanced reconstructive surgeries will help them to build a new life as productive and active members of the community. But the results were significant: these patients were able to rebuild their lives as productive citizens. Project Hue has set for itself the following goals to train Vietnamese surgeons in reconstructive surgery techniques with an emphasis on safety, effectiveness and efficiency. Project Hue has promoted the principle of “do no harm,” excellence of service, responsibility and compassion from doctors for their patient’s welfare and safety.

At the opening ceremony of the earliest 2008 symposium, the Director of Hue Central Hospital, Professor Bui Duc Phu said: “This transfer of technology is a significant step toward better patient care, and the development of the health care system in Vietnam which is unfortunately 10 years behind”. By the ceremony for the awarding the Medal for People's Health to Dr. Tran Tien Sum in Hue 24/04/2015 on behalf of Trantien Foundation, Prof Bui Duc Phu again expressed sincere thanks to the Trantien Foundation who have greatly supported and contributed to the high quality development of Hue Central Hospital with many great achievements in contributing to the effectiveness of healthcare for people, especially in plastic and reconstructive surgery over the last 10 years.

Since Professor Thanh took the rectorship of Hue University with young and competent faculty the section of plastic surgery is so much improved as recognized and seen today. We are sincerely grateful to Prof Thŕnh,Prof Huy,Prof Nhân to help our annual mission to meet our goal.

Trantien Foundation is a health, private, charitable, independent and legal educational agency in the United States Also, Trantien Foundation is serving for charitable purposes and follows closely humanitarian ideals . The philanthropy works of Trantien Foundation from 2005 until now have run many different programs such as Free medical Clinic , Free kindergarten and exchange and organization of seminars with many different specialties such as plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery, otolaryngology, family medicine ,nursing, etc.

Project Hue’s medical missions have now become an annual event, with support from doctors in the US and other parts of the world. Each mission is fully packed with diagnosis, surgical, and training sessions, with doctors frequently working late into the night, driven by passion and compassion. These missions have contributed significantly to the improvement of Hue Central Hospital and Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Department of Plastic Surgery as the team imparts skills and knowledge to local doctors, and shares their expertise and new medical technologies in the field of reconstructive plastic surgery.

The specialty of plastic surgery has been a leader in the development of global surgery to third world countries as compassionate medicine in resource-poor settings. As we continue to provide global surgical care in an ever-shrinking world, we are tasked to discover ways to integrate vertically based surgical programs as more horizontal health systems are strengthening. With a foundation of updated knowledge, improved education and training of in-country personnel, this will continue to be the key to assuring a sustainable reduction in the burden of plastic surgical disease. An ancient proverb was inscribed in English and Vietnamese on the dedicatory plaque for the Barsky Unit in 1969: "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."

As we move forward in the development of global plastic surgery in this century, we should remain mindful of the path that Dr. Arthur Barsky's candle lit and Dr Krainick ' love and all participants in this annual charity mission as self-supported volunteers with full of medical
compassion and without any discrimination, for the love of humanity. Through this mission, we have seen the generosity, honesty, openness and commitment to overcoming obstacles. They brought enthusiasm in the care of illness and disease and taught advanced surgical technologies from the United States in order to advance the care of people around the world, especially in Hue. Beyond this, Project Hue has opened the hearts and minds of many local and foreign partners, and inspired them to become partners in the healing of a nation that bears witness to one of mankind’s greatest tragedies. Their mission is simple—to bring joy and happiness and lessen the suffering of their fellow beings, especially those less privileged and marginalized. Their values are those handed down through the generations of the Trantien genealogy, the traditional Buddhist values of care, compassion, love, and gratitude with support of local medical authorities.

Sum Tran
Hue Mar 24.2018