Mohan Dangol, a hand therapist in Nepal, uses his training from Dr. Nancy Chee
and others to assist Sosan, a 4-year-old burn victim.
Dr. Nancy Chee, an occupational therapist from San Francisco, has been a ReSurge volunteer for 12 years. She is a valued member of our team, not only for her work with patients but also for the education and expertise she shares with local medical professionals.
One of her “students” is Mohan Dangol. He has worked at ReSurge’s Surgical Outreach Program in Nepal for more than 15 years. He initially joined the team as a city coordinator, but as he recognized the need for hand therapists he pursued training in the Indian cities of Orissa and Chennai. Dr. Chee also worked with him to teach him more advanced skills.
During a recent trip back to Nepal, Dr. Chee was gratified to see how talented Mohan has become.
“He is as amazing in what he has learned and can do,” she tells us. “It warms my heart to see him working with clients and applying the techniques and skills he's learned.”
Some of Mohan’s cases involve people who were injured in the devastating earthquakes in April and May. Others involve people who were burned in or around the indoor fires that families maintain around the clock for heat and cooking.
One such patient was 4-year-old Sosan. About four months ago he was shuffling around the kitchen in his mother’s slippers while she was deep-frying a sweet dessert. He stumbled and fell against the pan of hot oil, burning his left arm severely.
He underwent skin grafting and extensive physical therapy. Thanks to his mother’s diligence in following the team’s post-surgical instructions Sosan has regained nearly full use of his wrist and hand.
Under his mother's watchful eye, Sosan works hard
on his physical-therapy exercises.
Because of how he was injured, he refused to eat sweets after the accident.
“Until we gave him M&Ms,” Dr. Chee says. “That really made me smile.”
One other memorable patient was Binish, an aspiring computer hardware engineer. The 18-year-old suffered an electrical injury last year, leaving him with burns on his hands and face. He underwent surgery on his left hand last month but he refused to let anyone change his dressing. As a result the site became hypersensitive to touch from not being cleaned.
Binish works to remove his own sutures, a permissive move by doctors
that made him more amenable to treatment.
He did allow Dr. Chee to clean some of the wound (“Maybe because I’m the foreigner,” she speculates). The she figured, why not give him some responsibility as well? So the next day she handed him the tweezers and said he could clean it on his own. He’d watched her intently the day before, and for the next half hour he picked away diligently at the remaining sutures. Eventually he let Dr. Chee finish the job.
“Sometimes it makes a big difference to empower the patient,” she notes.