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Colonel Pham Van Trong, from battlefield nurse to People's Physician

Update: 27-02-2024 | 11:55:49

During the years of resistance against the US to liberate the country, Colonel, Hero of the People's Armed Forces, People's Physician Pham Van Trong saved the lives of many wounded soldiers in fierce battles in the southeastern battlefields of Cambodia. Leaving the army, he actively took part in social work, organized many voluntary medical examination programs and provided free medicine to poor people in revolutionary base areas and in Cambodia.

Colonel Pham Van Trong and the "Letter of Thanks" from Cambodia.

The people's physician

Colonel, Hero of the People's Armed Forces, People's Physician Pham Van Trong was born and raised in a land rich in revolutionary tradition - the Iron Triangle. After many years of working for the revolution, dedicating to many volunteer activities, in his later years, he decided to return to An Tay commune, Ben Cat town - the place where he was born, to rest in his old age. Trong inherited the patriotic tradition of his homeland and family, so he put aside his studies and joined the revolution very early.

In April 1962, he volunteered to join the army. After completing the short-term nursing training program, Colonel Pham Van Trong was assigned to work at Phu Loi Battalion. Colonel Pham Van Trong recalled: “At the end of April 1964, in a battle at Lai Khe base in Ben Cat district, soldier Trai was hit in the thigh by grenade fragments, severed his aorta, lost a lot of blood, and was at high risk of death. I carried Trai out of the battlefield and bandaged the wound in the usual way but could not stop the bleeding. Thinking for a moment, I used my hand to press into the wound to determine the location of the ruptured aorta and then used pliers to clamp it closed. Realizing that it was effective, I kept the pliers in the wound and bandaged it."

Nurse Pham Van Trong's initiative to bandage wounded soldiers with ruptured aorta was immediately included in the nurse training program and disseminated among the Provincial Armed Forces by Military Medical Department of Thu Dau Mot - Binh Duong. From this initiative, he and provincial army medical soldiers saved the lives of many wounded soldiers with severed aorta. “Every time I heard my comrades call my name, my heart ached. If my comrades sacrifice their lives, I must also bravely volunteer to enter the battlefield to save wounded soldiers," he said emotionally.

When the general offensive of the Mau Than uprising in 1968 broke out, the Armed Forces of Thu Dau Mot - Binh Duong province was assigned to separate a battalion, along with the Surgery Team to reinforce the Saigon - Gia Dinh Military Region. From then on, Colonel Pham Van Trong participated in operations in the Saigon - Gia Dinh area. Peace was restored, on May 20, 1976, Military Hospital 7A of the Logistics Department of Military Region 7 was established by merging C2 Hospital, Saigon - Gia Dinh Military Region and K21 Hospital, regional Logistics Department in the resistance war against America to save the country. This was a class-one general hospital at the end line of Military Region 7 and he was assigned to work here. He made great contributions to the hospital's development, contributing to fulfilling his mission of providing health care to officials and people in the area, becoming a trusted address for patients.

Strong love for the country

Peace was restored. Vietnam had not yet had time to overcome the severe consequences of the war but suffered huge losses from the genocide and war-making policies of the Pol Pot - Ieng Sary. The Vietnamese army and people exercised their legitimate right to self-defense, fight against invasion, and protect the sacred Fatherland; At the same time, he responded to the urgent call of the united front to save Cambodia and Cambodian people, to help the Cambodian people escape the disaster of genocide.

In his later years, Colonel Pham Van Trong returns to his hometown of An Tay, Ben Cat town to enjoy life in the countryside.

In 1979, the 7D Field Hospital of Front 779, Military Region 7 was established, be tasked with admitting and treating our soldiers at Front 779, local soldiers and people of 5 provinces of Cambodia. At that time, Colonel Pham Van Trong was the head of Surgical ward.

Trong recalled: “The hospital set in the area of the Mechanical Engineering School was completely destroyed by the Pol Pot. When received, the hospital was just piles of scattered bricks, no electricity, no water. Doctors, and nurses must do their best to clean up. To have water for daily use, we had to use a truck to transport it 2km away, and use a generator for lighting for professional activities, surgery, and treatment for wounded and sick soldiers amid the loud explosions of bullets and artillery."

One time, while he was performing a operation, he was hit by enemy artillery, causing an entire corner of the hospital building to collapse. At night, in addition to specialized departments, the hospital must arrange guards to prevent enemy attacks. During this time, the hospital saved lives and treated thousands of people, including soldiers from the other side. Trong smiled gently: “In April 1983, our forces fighting the enemy in Congo Thom province obtained a discharge certificate from a soldier on the other side signed by Director of Hospital 7D Pham Van Trong. That's when I realized that I was healing even the other side's soldiers. In battlefield conditions, every time a wounded soldier was brought in, we had to treat him, regardless of who he is. That is not only the humanitarian policy of our Party, State, and army, but also the heart of the doctors...".

There were times when many wounded and sick soldiers from the fronts were transferred back, and officers, nurses, and doctors had to participate in surgeries day and night, not having time to eat or drink, and their legs were numb from standing for long periods of time. Colonel Pham Van Trong recalled: “At the end of April 1982, the hospital received 4 wounded soldiers whose legs were crushed by enemy mines. Although first aid was given, when he returned to the hospital, the wound was seriously infected, his body turned pale, he suffered cardiovascular collapse, and the wounded soldier's life was in critical danger, needing emergency surgery to remove it early to save him. I cried while working, because in one night when I had to perform surgery to remove the legs of four comrades. Those comrades were very young, only in their twenties..."

In Colonel Pham Van Trong's military life, perhaps the deepest memories are his years of international duty in Cambodia and the love the Cambodian people have for him. He said that many times he visited the old battlefields in Cambodia, he was very happy that the people here loved him, as well as the "Vietnamese Volunteer Army" soldiers. The happiest thing is that due to the contributions of the medical team and doctors of Vietnam 7D Hospital, later, when taking over, Cambodia still kept the name 7D Hospital.

Colonel, Hero of the People's Armed Forces, People's Physician Pham Van Trong - portrait of a man who with all his enthusiasm and love for his profession, helped bringing spring to many people.

With outstanding achievements, in 1978, he was honored by the Party and State with the title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces. From a nurse, he was trained to become a specialist, appointed to the positions of deputy director, then Director of Hospital 7A (Military Region 7), and Director of Military Medicine of Military Region 7. Leaving the army, he moved back to become Vice President of the Vietnam Red Cross Society, Head of the Volunteer Physician Group of the Southern Agency of the Vietnam Red Cross Society.

Reported by Thu Thao - Translated by Ngoc Huynh

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