Dr. Kim Nguyen Smith
Dr. Smith has practiced in Texas, Arkansas, Quito Ecuador and her second home, Keyna in Africa. While in Africa, she worked in a remote hospital in Kijabe, Kenya. She and her husband remained there for four years.
There she would find many young women, barely more than girls to Americans, whose
bodies has been damaged from becoming pregnant before their reproductive system was completely developed.
Smith said that she found the women were married and expecting at 10 to 12 years old. They would go into labor and the babies would die because the mothers could not push. The resulting damage often caused problems called fistulas that prevented healing and led to leaking urine. The woman would then be abandoned by their husbands and rejected by their families because they smelled bad. Smith could surgically make repairs and help the woman lead more normal lives.
When the Smiths returned to the United States in 2003 they settled in Little Rock, where she practiced at the Cornerstone Clinic for Women.
They talked of their next trip to Africa, but it was delayed when the doctor became the patient after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The family decided to stay in Arkansas for treatment. For months Smith underwent surgery, radiation treatments and chemotherapy. Family and faith sustained the doctor, along with the choices she made about her life.
“I could have screamed to God and asked, ‘Why me,’ or I could decide to have joy,” she said. “No one knows how much time we have. I could sit around waiting for it to come back or get on with my life,” Smith said. “I know that joy to me is to serve, and where I was needed most is overseas.”
The Smith family returned to Kenya in 2006 when Nathaniel received a grant from President George W. Bush for AIDS relief. She returned to Arkansas every six months for two years and then annually for checkups. She is now a six-year cancer survivor.
Her work during her recovery was also endangered with the outbreak of civil unrest in Kenya and its neighbors. Their work sent them to the eastern Congo and Rwanda.
“We would be near the fighting,” Smith said. “We would come in right after the United Nations’ troops.”
Working with the U.N. she saw patients from the Sudan and Somalia.
“I may have been the only OB/GYN available in East Africa that would treat the poor,” she said.
Smith and her family, now with four children, now moved her practice to Providence Women’s Healthcare.
We are honored to have a Provider that deeply cares for the health of women at every age.