Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thien Nhan Video

Click on the title to see a video of Thien Nhan, taken nine hours after he got out of surgery. He continues to heal well and is looking forward to returning to Hanoi to play with his cousins and his 5-year-old brother, Little Minh.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good boy

Thien Nhan continues to recover well. "He is being such a good and brave little boy," says his mum, Mai Anh. "But of course he misses home and wants to see his brother, Little Minh, and to be able to get up and play normally."

Today, Thien Nhan is meeting prosthetic experts from a nearby prosthetic center in Bologne. "I hope that they'll be able to find a good solution for him," says Mai Anh. Because the stump of Thien Nhan's right leg is very short, to date, it has proven impossible to attach a prosthetic limb that has enough stability to allow him to walk comfortably.

"After his genitals heal, my next big goal is to help find a way for him to walk," says Mai Anh.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Family Support

"Thien Nhan is able to sit up and is eating well," reports his mum, Mai Anh. Indeed, the 4-year-old is recovering so well that his doctors may allow him to check out early and fly home to Vietnam. "We hope to go home this coming weekend," says Mai Anh. This is good news for Thien Nhan's brother Little Minh, 5, who is back in Hanoi, where he misses his brothers and his mum.

An early return to Asia would also be good news for Thien Nhan's godparents, Greig Craft and Na Huong, who organized this child's life-changing medical mission and accompanied him to Italy. Over the years, Greig and Na Huong have repeatedly taken time off from their demanding jobs in Hanoi to organize and accompany Thien Nhan on trips to see specialists in the USA, Germany, Thailand, and now Italy. All of these journeys have been made at their own expense, and caused considerable disruptions to their busy schedules.

While Thien Nhan had a rough start in life, he is lucky to have found such fantastic godparents!
[Photo shows Greig Craft and Big Minh comforting Thien Nhan.]

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Thien Nhan spent two days in Intensive Care, but is now recovering well. He is in pain, but his discomfort is being managed with medication. A risk of complications remain, especially pulmonary issues, as fluid can easily accumulate in the lungs of youngsters of Thien Nhan's age post-surgery.
As advised before the surgery, an additional urological surgery will be required in 6 to 9 months. But the goal of this surgery - to rebuild the boy's genitals - seems to be an outstanding success.

"Without going into graphic detail, suffice it to say that he looks 100% normal," says Greig Craft, the American philanthropist who, over the past 4 years, has been instrumental in organizing Thien Nhan's medical care. "Because the revolutionary technique of Dr. De Castro involves creating a penis from the pubic area, where flaps are cut from the side and formed to create a natural-looking, age-appropriate and functioning penis, the end result is stunning. Because this is from his body it will grow with him through puberty, as would his original penis."
The child's scrotum was also rebuilt, and a prosthetic testicle inserted. When he gets bigger, another testicle will be added.

[Photo shows the surgeon who led Thien Nhan's reconstructive surgery, Dr. De Castro, changing the boy's bandages.]

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Then and Now

Four years ago, shortly after birth, Thien Nhan was abandoned on the edge of a forest in Central Vietnam. He lay in the open for three days and was badly mauled by wild animals. Found by passerby, the horrifically injured baby was transported 2.5 hours by motorbike to the nearest hospital, where doctors performed life-saving surgery. Unfortunately, the child's right leg was lost and his genitals were badly damaged.

Last week, Thien Nhan, now 4, underwent another life-changing surgery in Bologne, Italy. Surgeons worked for more than 8 hours to rebuild the boy's penis and insert prosthetic testes. "The surgeons say everything went well and he is recovering," reports Thien Nhan's relieved mum, Mai Anh. Full recovery is expected to take three months.
[Top left photo: Thien Nhan recovering from surgery in Bologne, Italy. Top right photo: Thien Nhan in Intensive Care as a newborn in Central Vietnam.]

Friday, February 4, 2011

Best Big Brother

While Thien Nhan's recovery seems to be progressing smoothly, he remains in considerable pain and is on strong medication. Whenever the 4-year-old wakes up, he immediately looks for his beloved brother, Big Minh.

Here, Big Minh is helping Thien Nhan to get a drink of water.