There are some moments that tend to stick with you long after they occur, being replayed over-and-over in your mind, used as anecdotes that help guide you through your personal journey through life. For me, one such moment occurred during Day 3 of the clinic at Đồng Nai Province, Vietnam.
It was a rainy, hot, and humid summer day, not unlike the two days before it. This day was different however, it was the last day that we would be serving this area. On this particular day, I had the privilege to learn and practice the art of pediatric medicine. Nearing the end of the clinic, already having provided medical care to hundreds of underserved children, the clinic was informed of the queue of approximately 80 Đồng Nai residents who have yet to be registered and not likely to be provided any medical care given the time constraints.
After hearing of this news, I closely observed Dr. Truong and the group of 4 physicians in the pediatric clinic convene to talk about the plan of action. One thing was clear to me, after a long 10-hour workday, no one could have been faulted for wanting to allow the registration process to run its course. As I stood near the doctors, I witnessed an unrelenting desire to do good for the sake of the children. After it was all said and done, the pediatric clinic successfully provided medical care to every child that came to the clinic that day. The level of compassion and selflessness displayed by the pediatric team served as a striking reminder of what it truly means to practice medicine and why many of us dream of becoming doctors: to help those who are unable to help themselves.
I vividly recall feeling a sense of pride as a student of medicine and never more sure of myself that I made the correct decision to pursue a career in the medical profession. I am humbled and honored to have had the privilege to learn and work closely with truly talented and selfless doctors during this 2-week mission trip to my homeland. As I move forward in my career, the lessons from this mission will continue to inspire me to become the best doctor that I can be.