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KRCH Archive: Volunteers from the Past

by Dr. Phil McDaniel

Volunteers from many countries have donated their time and talents to further the work of the Kwai River Christian Hospital and benefit the community. They have generally paid their own way to get to the Kwai River Christian Hospital and paid for their own room and board while there. Some volunteers have been repeaters, giving of their time and talents again and again. A few volunteers are pictured below. I hope to add more photos as they get digitized.


Bruce Mills trying to keep his boots dry by pole vaulting across the stream. Bruce came with Phil Blackman and son Andrew Blackman to put in a gravity-fed water system for the Village of Yakadee.



Phil Blackman and Bruce Mills. When I asked Phil whether he thought he could improve the function of our rickety old operating table. This table swayed a bit from side to side and also slowly sank under the weight of patients during operations. He said, “Not a problem. It works just like a piece of farm machinery!” At that time Phil was managing a farm owned by a specialist surgeon in Australia and Bruce was running a sheep ranch.


Bruce, Phil, and Gideon give the operating table a test ride after their overhaul job done in the back yard.


Dr. Ed McDaniel covered the KRCH many times. The first time was in the early 1960s when he covered the hospital for a week or two for Dr. Doug Corpron. At that time, son Philip was still in high school. In this photo probably from the late 1980’s, Dr. Ed is examining a patient recovering from a coma. Patient is lying on a mattress on the floor. I think this is because the beds were all full. However it also could have been a precaution against falling out of bed due to a seizure or disorientation.


Dr. and Mrs. Curry (Frank and Beryl), July, 2004, Washington State, USA
Dr. and Mrs. Curry (Frank and Beryl) in Washington State, USA, where Phil McDaniel went to visit them in July, 2004. Frank and Phil’s dad, Dr. Ed McDaniel, together covered the KRCH for about one year (1987/1988) while Phil was on furlough in the USA. Frank and my dad both turned 70 in 1987. Their birthdays were just four days apart. They referred to themselves as “the two old men manning the fort”.


Dr. Keith Dahlberg and nurse Satja, round on a patient in the big ward. Dr. Dahlberg took turns with Dr. Bina Sawyer and Dr. Ed McDaniel to cover the hospital part of the time during the two year gap between Dr. John Freeman and Dr. Phil McDaniel. In later years, Dr. Keith returned from the States 2-3 times to cover the KRCH so Dr. Phil could go to a conference or go on vacation. Dr. Keith has been listed in some accounts of the hospital’s history as one of the former directors. However, he was never officially the hospital director at KRCH. He was director at Maesariang Christian Hospital.


Dr. Akira Koga from Japan [back row, center, flanked by Dr. Phil McDaniel and nurse Ebra Sanba] with cataract patients in the mid 1980’s. Dr. Koga came twice, sending expensive donated equipment ahead of his first visit.
Dr. Koga testing visual acuity of a patient following cataract surgery.


Improved vision following cataract surgery. Note that this was in the mid 1980s. We were still using an old method involving removal of the entire lens and no placement of an artificial intraocular lens. This was in the days when post cataract surgery patients had to wear thick glasses.


The staff called visiting dentist, Dr. Phil Horton, “Dr. Phil Tooth” to distinguish him from Dr. Phil McDaniel.


Phil Horton working with kids crowded around
Dr. Phil Horton works on a student while curious schoolmates look on.


Dentist Phil Horton with helpers Kalay (left) and Moung Oo (right).


Dr. Mathew Clark came for a volunteer stint in the 1980’s. Here he is aspirating a liver abscess. We located this clinically [no ultrasound or CT scan at KRCH in those days!]. Patient felt much improved after aspiration.
Forest Daugherty, family practice doctor from Columbus, Ohio made two trips to KRCH with his wife, Marsha. Their enthusiasm was infections.


Marsha Daugherty accompanied her husband, Dr. Forest Daugherty on two volunteer trips to KRCH. While Forest saw patients, Marsha led a charge to dust and wash glass louvers as well as scrub walls and clean shelves. When Forest was not examining patients, he and Marsha worked together to sand and varnish some of the woodwork in staff housing.


Mr. and Mrs. Don Cross, November 18, 1995
Don (electrician) and Jeanette Cross from Western Australia. Don came to KRCH two or three times. He did extensive wiring jobs and over-saw the installation of a hospital-wide suction system.


Dr. Jim Smith, ear, nose and throat specialist from Oregon, inspects a large goiter. We later removed this under local anesthesia.


Dr. Smith made a side trip to KRCH following a medical conference in Malaysia, which we had both attended. Here Dr. Smith is operating to remove the large goiter pictured above (Phil assisting).


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