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August 13, 1997     West Seattle Herald
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August 13, 1997
 

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West Seattle Herald/White Center News Wednesday, August 13, 1997 9 I1a at others were alive. Truong says he was much older before he realized how difficult that decision must have been. "BEING A teenager, I was very naive," he said. "I thought it would be like a field trip or a vacation. 1 Hoang Truong offers medical care at a Westwood-area clinic. didn't know what it was like to be away from my parents, my friends and familiar surroundings. The first few weeks were unbelievably painful." Truong spent six days and nights crossing the South China Sea, normally a two- or three-day trip. ITe had only two slices of dry bread think it was twice as hard for me to speak your language can enhance to eat during the voyage, which saw get through the homework as it was the care you get," he said. "You repeated attacks by pirates who for those who spoke English as a want to say something, but you assaulted the passengers and stole first language." can't convey it to the doctor to give their few belongings. The experience gave him "a hard- enough information for an infornlcd "Fortunately, no one on our boat working habit" that helped him as a treatment decision." dicd," he said. "We were very lucky University of Washington under- Truong is looking forward to to escape with our lives. Many graduatc in chemistry, and in solving that problem for Viet- boats never made it to shore, or had medical school. Medicine appealed namcse patients at the UW Physi- only a few survivors." to him as a career that combined his cians Harborview Westwood Clinic. "Shore" was a refugee camp on interests in science and in working "To be able to see the glow on an island off Malaysia, where with people, thcir faces when they hear someone Truong and his siblings spent a year It was also a way to honor hisspeak their language," he said. trying to find a country willing to parents. "That gives me a very good accept them. "As a teenager, I didn't realize feeling." "I still remember how hungry I my parents had sacrificed so much, Truong is joined at the clinic by a was in the camp," he said. "Our emotionally and financially," he physician assistant and four other ultimate goal was to stay alive and said. "I need to make sure their hard physicians, whose specialties get to a developed country." work did not go in vain, so I tried to include pediatrics, internal medi- ALTHOUGH denied entry to be the best I can, work hard and cine, and obstretics and gynecology. France, the Truong siblings eventu- study hard. That, and what I had to In addition to Truong's fluency in allywere welcomed to the United go through as a boat person, Vietnamese, the 13 staff members States, thanks to the sponsorship of brought out the best in me." together speak English, Spanish, a Vietnamese refugee who had HE ALSO knows first-hand how Cambodian, Thai, Laotian and settled in Tacoma five years earlier, it feels to need medical care in an Tagalog. But starting seventh grade in unfamiliar system. The clinic is located at 2615 S.W. Tacoma at age 15, without knowing "I can see how having a doctorTrenton St. English, was hardly smooth sailing. "I wanted to learn so much, but the language barrier made it really hard," he said. "It got easier, but I Enjoying a Independently While Secure, Care-Free Lifestyle "= American Association of Homes for the services, and 24 hour security grounds, & your apartment trips s daily apartments Aging nursing care SW, Seattle, WA 98136 * (206) 937-2800 We have i: iii~i * Plenty of Tackle & Ice on Hand Hours: 8am to 8pm Monday- Saturday Closed Sunday 160 S. 108th 242"8591 truer, m, near Top Hat) II I ql) 0 Best Grocery Store Best Hardware Store Best Place for a Quick Lunch Best Place to Volunteer Best Place for After Work Beer Best Public Art Best Gift Shop Best Restaurant Best Place for Business Lunch Best Westside Website Best Car Repair Best Massage Therapist Best Flodst Best New Business Best Landscaped Yard ALL ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED BY AUGUST 31 ! Best Outdoor Dining/Patio Ns,]Bte Address Zip Eve. Phone Day Phone * NO PHOTO COPIES WILL BE ACCEPTED-AT LEAST 75% OF THIS.FORM MUST BE FILLED OUT: