Case Study: Out of Isolation

Fall/Winter Newsletter 1998

Nguyen Huong Duong was 21 when the tragic accident happened. Racing across the railroad tracks with her friends one afternoon, Nguyen tripped and a train crushed both of her legs just below the knees. The ensuing pain and shocks never seemed to go away. A year after the accident, Nguyen hardly got out of the house. Becoming disabled to her meant isolation and being left behind. Over the next two years Nguyen tried several pair of limbs manufactured at two different clinics, none of them fitting properly, not even for a short walk.

Then in late 1996, Nguyen showed up at the one-room VNAH field office in Ho Chi Minh City ‘just for some inquiries’ about the possibility of getting a better fit for her below the knee (BK) artificial limbs. She didn’t know that that ‘casual’ visit would change her life once more. This time, for the better.

VNAH’s staff arranged an examination and diagnostic for her at our Can Tho Prosthetics and Rehabilitation Center. A pair of new Bks was carefully fabricated. Nguyeh had to wait nearly seven days, but when she finally got to try out the new legs for the first time, “they fitted so well, I just wanted to run in them,” she exclaimed. She was thrilled. She had thought she could never walk again without pain. Nguyen took time to thank everyone at the Can Tho center.

Returning to Ho Chi Minh City, she enrolled in an English As A Second Language (ESL) class during the evenings, and began to look for a job. Being able to walk again gave her confidence. She is now working part time for a radio station in Ho Chi Minh City as an announcer on children’s programs. The part of her work she likes best is reading stories to blind children. “I just like to do something for these kids!” Nguyen reports.