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Cambodian girl getting medical treatment in Taiwan goes home (update)

2012/07/16 22:37:34

Taipei, July 16 (CNA) A four-year-old Cambodian girl brought to Taiwan two years ago for medical treatment returned to Cambodia Monday with her condition improved, said one of her doctors.

Reachny Mich, whose case of Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome caused massive swelling of her right arm, was discovered by a Taiwanese medical team that visited Cambodia in April 2010 to provide free medical services.

"After undergoing drug therapy and rehabilitation in Taiwan, the circumference of Mich's right arm has been reduced by around half from 32 cm," Chang Teh-kao, a pediatric hematologist who treated the girl, told CNA.

However, she will need to wear a tailor-made elastic bandage around her arm to prevent the swelling from recurring, said Chang, who works at Taichung Veterans General Hospital in central Taiwan.

Before the girl received treatment, her right arm was four to five times larger than her left arm as a result of the syndrome, which causes the deformation of blood vessels and bones.

Chang said swelling blood vessels have damaged the nerves in Mich's arm and full recovery will be difficult.

He said the girl was making steady progress, however, and is now able to use three of the fingers on her right hand and perform simple arm movements.

She is expected to return to the hospital within a year so that the doctors can monitor her situation, Chang said.

In the longer run, Chang said Mich may have to undergo plastic surgery when she reaches her teens to smooth skin that has been stretched because of the swelling, but said it will depend how her limbs have developed at that time.

The government allowed her to come to Taiwan for treatment after Sally Yu, one of the medical team volunteers, made repeated appeals on the girl's behalf.

Yu, director of the Formosa Budding Hope Association's Cambodian branch, said the medical mission was "a successful humanitarian case" that saw a concerted effort from Taiwan's hospitals.

She expressed concern about how Mich's condition will be handled in Cambodia, however, saying that the country lacks medical resources and that the swelling could recur if her rehabilitation is not properly supervised.

(By Christie Chen)