Capital’s Sunrise Hospital a shining example of ‘warm heart’ treatment

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Sunrise Hospital trains students to use state-of-the-art technology. Photo supplied

Sunrise Japan Hospital Phnom Penh has in its fourth year of operating quickly become a symbol of the Japanese community helping develop the Kingdom’s medical sector.

When the hospital first opened in 2016, it had 30 Japanese doctors on staff who worked in tandem with 80 Cambodian professionals.

Today, there are 20 Japanese medical staff and 190 Cambodian medical professionals on staff as the hospital trains locals to fill positions, explains neurosurgeon Dr Yoshifumi Hayashi.

Dr Hayashi has been in the Kingdom since 2015.

He tells The Post that he has seen significant improvements in Cambodia’s medical sector since that time, but he notes that much work is still ahead.

The hospital embraces a culture of treating the community with a “warm heart”, says Dr Hayashi, who is also clinical director.

The warm heart concept has led the hospital to cross several frontiers, including medical trips to rural communities to provide health check-ups, consultations and other procedures to financially vulnerable Cambodians.

Most recently, 37 of Sunrise Hospital’s staff and two volunteer students embarked on a medical outreach programme to Prey Veng province.

At remote villages, the team offered health screenings, reviewed medication and educated 300 villagers.

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Dr Yoshifumi Hayashi consults with colleagues. Photo supplied

One of the patients had been suffering from stomach pain for several years. He went opted to visit a pharmacy instead of a clinic. The man was incorrectly diagnosed and prescribed the wrong medicine, the University of Tokyo graduate explains between rounds.

“This is very common, not only in the countryside but also in Phnom Penh. When we evaluated the patient we saw that it was [likely] a colon problem. We were able to recognise that it was not a stomach problem and referred him to a local hospital for proper medical treatment,” the good doctor says.

Beyond its notable medical outreach programme, the hospital has also given 15 patients free medical care through its “Akahige Project Fund”.

The fund affords financially vulnerable people medical care in severe cases when time is of the essence. As leaders in neurology, this mostly occurred when patients suffered severe brain trauma following motorcycle accidents or strokes.

“Each second counts in these circumstances,” Hayashi says.

He adds that the dream of Dr Shigemi Katahara of expanding Kitahara International Hospital’s world-class healthcare to developing countries brought him to Cambodia.

Sunrise Japan Hospital in Phnom Penh is the first representation of Dr Kitahara’s vision.

It took three years of surveys to understand the Kingdom’s medical situation and another three years to build the facilities. During this time, Cambodian staff travelled to Japanese hospitals for training.

Dr Hayashi explains that beyond providing care to patients, his responsibility is also to impart his knowledge and expertise to local medical staff.

The hospital provides Cambodian medical students with hands-on training on how to use state-of-the-art technology, including angiography, radiology and MRI machines, as well as the laboratory.

“We establish and operate an emergency medical centre to provide high-level Japanese-style medical services . . . while expanding our sustainable model.

“We try to serve as a good model for the healthcare system in terms of quality and price, as well as in the development of healthcare and human resources,” Dr Hayashi says.

Sunrise Japan Hospital Phnom Penh has seven centres, specialising in stroke and neurology, gastroenterology, emergency care, internal general medicine, paediatrics, health check-ups and plastic surgery.

For more information visit www.sunrise-hs.com.