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The heart of a surgeon

 2016-06-21-1466532119-4358524-LSUTheHeartofaSurgeonpage1June2016.jpg "src =" https://images.huffingtonpost.com/2016-06-21- 1466532119-4358524-LSUTheHeartofaSurgeonpage1June2016-thumb. jpg "width =" 440 "height =" 570 "/></p><p></center></p><p> Dr. SreyRam Kuy was recently interviewed by Sally Croom, of Louisiana State University Health Shreveport. interview was originally published in Inside LSU Health on June 16, 2016 and can be read here <br
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Surgery saved her, is now saving to others.

If it were not for a surgeon in a Cambodian refugee camp, Dr. SreyRam Kuy might not be alive today, certainly his mother would not be.

For the past two years, Dr. Kuy has returned the favor by working as a general surgeon at the Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Shreveport, and about 30 full-time affiliated members of the LSU Health Shreveport faculty provide care to patients and training for about 70 residents in the hospital of veterans.

Survivors of the infamous Khmer Rouge extermination camps, Dr. Kuy's family had just arrived at the relief camp in Thailand two weeks before a devastating grenade attack. He left her with a wound on her head and almost fell off her left ear. Her older sister, SreyReath, suffered an arm injury, while her mother took the brunt of the explosion trying to protect her two daughters. A German surgeon who worked as a volunteer in the camp operated with all three, saving the life of SreyRam and then, against all odds, also against his mother.

Dr. Kuy credits his mother for the happy and successful lives that both she and her sister (a podiatrist in Houston) have achieved. The sisters have written a book as a tribute to her, for which they are looking for a publisher. Called The heart of a tiger, tells the story of the fierce love and the indomitable courage of his mother in front of one of the worst chapters in history. "I really think, the message from The Heart of a Tiger is that, no matter how terrible your circumstances, never give up, God is really bigger than any situation you face," said Dr. Kuy.

No matter how terrible your circumstances may be, never give up

The book is also meant to honor the lives of the millions of Cambodians who died during that horrendous moment and were buried in what is known like the Fields of Death.

The horror began in April 1975, when the Khmer Rouge seized Cambodia and expelled citizens from their homes at gunpoint, forcing them into the countryside and jungles. "My mother, my father, her little daughter and my 70-year-old grandmother joined a crowd of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians who were driven like cattle on a death march out of town." They clung to each other, and miraculously, he initially arrived at the first of a series of work camps together, "said Dr. Kuy.

"This initiated an apocalyptic nightmare that lasted four years, during which all Cambodian citizens were forced to work in forced labor camps, and those who were too weak to work were executed," said Dr. Kuy. Anyone who has an education was marked for death.

Dr. Kuy's mother was a teacher educated at the university in Cambodia and her husband, now deceased, was a middle-level government worker. They had lived a fairly comfortable life in Phnom Penh with their little daughter, SreyReath. Now they and other educated Cambodians posed as illiterate rice farmers to avoid being killed, struggling to survive years of forced labor and hunger under the Pol Pot regime. At one point, the Khmer Rouge dragged her mother after someone revealed her true origin. She used her wit and a Cambodian folktale to convince the soldiers that they were making a mistake.

They let her go, but others were not so lucky. For four years, two million Cambodians died, whether by execution, torture, starvation or disease.

Two million Cambodians died, either by execution, torture, starvation or disease.

It was during this time, in the spring of 1978, that SreyRam was born in Talien, Cambodia. His real birthday is a mystery, since nobody had access to calendars. It was a miracle in itself that they did not kill their mother, like many pregnant women who could not keep up with the hard work in the fields. But, in what kind of life was he bringing this new child?

"He looked at my sister, who was then 4. Instead of a plump-cheeked princess, she was not yellow-skinned, sunken eyes And when I was born, on the edge of the Fields of Death, my mother cried, it was cruel to bring another life to this living hell. "

The young mother had to fend for herself, with the help from his fragile mother. By then, her husband had been sent to a reeducation camp, many miles away from Talien. (Reeducation was a euphemism for brutal beatings and slave labor). "There was no hope at the sight of the nightmare ending," his mother told him later.

He did everything he could to stay alive to take care of his children. After working all day in forced labor, she crawled into the jungles to find food for her daughters and her elderly mother.

"Once, she was digging to get wild bamboo shoots and she found a litter of tiger cubs in the jungle." Terrified, she ran for her life to escape the mother's tiger, which she was sure was near. empty hands, she gathered her courage, then returned to the jungle to collect more wild bamboo shoots, "according to family history.

Says Dr. Kuy: "For me, that's really heroic But, my mother now, laughing, says: 'I was not afraid, I was just hungry'

On January 7, 1979, the Khmer Rouge was overthrown in the capital city of Phnom Penh. "The news of the liberation took about a month to reach the Talien jungles." It seemed incredible, "said Dr. Kuy.

However, despite They were free, the family had absolutely nothing, the city had been destroyed. "Our home in Phnom Penh had disappeared, and our family farmland had been occupied by squatters," Dr. Kuy said. there was no possibility of a future there, the mother of Dr. Kuy took her two and six year old children and fled Cambodia in 1980.

 2016-06-21 -1466532480-4237887-LSUTheHeartofaSurgeonpage3June2016cropped.jpg "src =" https://images.huffingtonpost.com/2016-06-21-14665 32480-4237887-LSUTheHeartofaSurgeonpage3June2016cropped-thumb. jpg "width =" 228 "height =" 570 "/></p><p></center></p><p> Walking for days in the jungles, side-step land mines and hiding from the border patrol, They joined hundreds of thousands of unwanted illegal immigrants, finally arriving at a refugee camp, and the rocket-propelled grenade that landed in their camp, almost killing them, had been intentionally directed against another group of refugees trying to cross the border.</p><p> Dr. Kuy is still surprised that the surgeon who saved his wounded family leaves his comfortable home and family to work in a squalid refugee camp, helping people who do not look like him to add anything to give back.</p><p> "That's really what it means to have compassion," she believes.</p><p> After living in different refugee camps, Dr. Kuy and his family were able to obtain visas with the help of an American Christian missionary and they ended up in Corvallis, Oregon. Her mother took over cleaning jobs in hospital rooms and second tasks cleaning houses of doctors and working in a thrift store to support them.</p><blockquote><p> My mother often tells me how proud she is of being American and how amazed she is by the kindness of Americans</p></blockquote><p> "My mother was very proud to have the opportunity to work, to live without fear and have freedom, she often tells me how proud she is of being American and how amazed she is by the kindness of Americans, "Dr. Kuy said.</p><p> Compare its history with that of the thousands of refugees fleeing Syria today.</p><p> "I am not a politician, I am not a legal expert and there is a big problem that I do not know about politics and world affairs, I am just a surgeon, but I do know that I was once a refugee and I am very grateful to this country. For having opened the doors to my family and I. We fled a genocide, we survived a bombing in the refugee camps and we had absolutely nothing, we were destitute, we did not speak English, and I had absolutely nothing to offer. I thank God that we have had the opportunity to come to the United States, I am very proud to be an American, and I am very grateful for the compassion of the American people. "</p><blockquote><p> We were destitute, we did not speak English, and we had absolutely nothing to offer.</p></blockquote><p> She wants those who helped to know the outcome of her kindness</p><p> "Judy, that American Christian missionary, may never know, but because of her, my mother often returns to her hometown in Cambodia , where she helps rebuild the community and shares her story of perseverance, hope and faith Carver, the teacher who helped two young refugees resettle in Oregon, may never know, but because of her I love teaching and I am a mentor of university students, medical students and surgical residents. "</p><p> Dr. Kuy received the Gerald E. Bruce Community Service Leadership Award from the Ford Family Foundation, which is awarded for selfless initiatives taken professionally and civically for the betterment of their communities. She was honored for the work she has done with veterans and health care. The award comes with a $ 5,000 grant, which Dr. Kuy has chosen for an organization that serves veterans. "I'm inspired by people, like Jay Leno and JJ Abrams, who use their talents and abilities to illuminate the tremendous need among veterans."</p><blockquote><p> I do not even know his name, but thanks to him I'm alive today. And, as a surgeon, caring for US veterans. I remember the privilege of caring for people who fought for the freedoms that I treasure.</p></blockquote><p> Dr. Kuy often thinks of that surgeon who volunteered to work in the camps of Cambodia. "I do not even know his name, but thanks to him I'm alive today, and as a surgeon, caring for US veterans, he reminds me of the privilege of caring for people who fought for freedom I treasure."</p><p> <a
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