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June 04, 1993 - Image 84

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-06-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



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veteran who collects med-
ical equipment from U.S.
companies and donates it
to clinics in Vietnam.
More than $1 million has
been raised throughout
the United States. It is
not enough to cover equip-
ment, shipping and distri-
bution costs, Dr. Diem

said.

After three weeks of
travel, Dr. Diem drew con-
clusions that might sur-
prise the uninformed.
Vietnamese physicians do
not want sophisticated
medical equipment from
the West. They want the
bare-bones basics — like
netting to ward off malar-
ia-infested mosquitoes.
"America is offering
them third-generation
antibiotics, laser surgical
machines, endoscopy — all
kinds of modern technolo-
gy. And they ask for mos-
quito netting and peni-
cillin," Dr. Diem said.
"They don't need fancy
equipment. They have a
crying need for Band-Aids,
sterile gloves and micro-
scopes."
Testimony to Dr. Diem's
evaluation were dispos-
able rubber surgeon's
gloves, air-drying outside
a clinic. Unsterilized,
these gloves will be reused
for future surgeries.
Vietnam doesn't have the
money to throw them
away and buy more, he
said.
He also visited a dilapi-
dated dentist's office and
antiquated equipment. At
a medical school, students
studied anatomy using
crude plaster molds of
hearts, female reproduc-
tive organs and muscles —
all pitifully behind the
times.
There are no visiting
hours at hospitals in
Vietnam, Dr. Diem said.
Patients are expected to
sign in with family mem-

bers. Relatives often must
provide them with food,
sometimes even medica-
tion.
"Going to the hospital is
a family affair," he said.
For two of the American
doctors, the trip brought
back turbulent memories
of wartime. As veterans,
they remembered the land

My son's
chemistry set is
better equipped
than some of
their labs."

Dr. Mark Diem

under siege. However, Dr.
Diem, who made a point of
talking to people on the
streets with the help of a
translator, discovered that
the Vietnamese people
were matter-of-fact when
talking about the war.
"They're happy to see
the Americans. They don't
seem like they bear any
grudge," said Dr. Diem;
"They think of it like this:
Why dwell on a 21-year
piece of history that was
tragic for both sides? Life
goes on." ❑

Rabbi Talks
On Abortion

"The Jewish Outlook on
Abortion: Discussion on the
moral and ethical approach
on abortion and a clear
perspective from the age-old
Jewish guide, the Torah" will
be delivered by Rabbi H. Fin-
man 7 p.m. June 9 at the
Baldwin Public Library in
Birmingham, sponsored by
Chabad of Birmingham/
Bloomfield.

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