"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you
who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve" Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Not Too Late...

to donate to the Hopital Adventiste Ortho Project and still claim a deduction on your 2010 Income Tax Return! We're all bombarded with pleas for financial assistance this time of year but I cannot think of a purer philanthropic endeavor as 100% of your tax-deductable donation will go directly to patient care...no administrative fees whatsoever.  In addition, I've never met anyone who can stretch a buck further than Scott or the Dietrichs.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to serve 10 days with Scott Nelson and Terry and Jeannie Dietrich at Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti.  You can read about the trip on this blog as well as the Orthopedic Ministries of the Caribbean website.
Jeannie and Terry Dietrich
For those of you who are not familiar with the Dietrichs, Terry and Jeannie recently put a lucrative orthopaedic practice on ice (literally, they are from Wisconsin) for 12 months.  They have dedicated a year of their lives (without financial remuneration) to not only maintain the gains made by Scott Nelson and short-term volunteers since the Big Quake but are attempting to create a viable musculoskeletal program that can be self-supporting for years to come.
Jeannie cleans and organizes equipment, preps patients, and first assists...even more impressive considering she sustained a bad fracture/dislocation of her shoulder 3 wks prior to this photo being taken 
The following is an additional update written by Terry Dietrich shortly after leaving Haiti a few days ago:

The work that was started at HAH in the days and weeks after Jan 12 by Dr Nelson is of inestimable value to the Haitian people. They have never had a comprehensive orthopedic program available in the past.  Now they have at their disposal (especially the indigent patients) expert care that can address generations of neglected and untreated musculoskeletal conditions such as limb anomalies like clubfeet, spine deformities, acute trauma, tumors and infections. From what I have been able to see during the total of seven weeks that I have been involved at HAH, is that it has become one of the few bright spots in an otherwise largely dismal picture of what has happened (or more correctly, NOT happened) in Port-au-Prince since the Big Quake on January 12.  God has certainly worked strongly through Dr Nelson and the hundreds of volunteers at HAH to not only help the Haitians directly injured during the earthquake but hundreds of others such as Staille and the 37y/o lady who came to HAH one week ago yesterday with an unstable pelvic fracture. She had been initially evaluated at Medecins Sans Frontieres and told she would need to be at bed rest for at least 3 months. She was returning to Florida to be with her husband in West Palm Beach, one of the most affluent communities in Florida prior to her injury. Dr Nelson and I finished surgically stabilizing her pelvis at 4am and then cleaned the instruments and restocked the trays so they could be properly sterilized and ready for the next time needed. That work was finished at 5am. We left the hospital 30 minutes later for the airport to return to the United States and Dominican Republic respectively. This was just 36 hours after Dr Nelson had been hand delivered a letter absolving HAH and sponsoring entities of any responsibility for any anything that might happen to him during his continued stay in Haiti. He had decided to stay at HAH to provide ongoing urgent care for patients that still required his expertise for 2 more days after all the expatriates had been ordered to evacuate Haiti. Those extra two days that I was able to have with Dr Nelson were a gift from God. It helped me greatly to be able to finalize several aspects of patient care that I can now be better able to manage.

Dr Dietrich is hoping to establish elective Sports Medicine and Total Joint Arthoplasty programs at HAH to supplement income for indigent patients.  Donations of functioning Linvatec arthroscopic gear welcomed.
Some of the more pressing needs are as follows:
  • Travel expenses for OEC tech to recalibrate C-arm damaged during power fluctuations - ($1,000)
  • Funding for Vieja (Dominican OR nurse, worth her weight in gold) to return for 4 1-week reorganization stints - ($3,000)
  • Set of reusable, heavy-duty cloth surgical gowns - ($5000)
  • Doubling of inverter capacity to protect electronics against power fluctuations - ($6,000)
  • Funding for Ortho Technician training program - ($10,000)
  • Funding for Haitian anesthesiologist to commit to at least 2 full days a week - ($1,000/month)
  • Second OEC 9600 C-arm as this would enable the team to perform simultaneous cases that require imaging as well as serve as a backup - ($50,000)
  • Renovating the Operating Theatre (creating additional room, enlarging existing rooms - ($100,000)
  • Indigent patient fund (presently care is free but in order for the hospital to survive, this policy will be forced to change sooner rather than later) - ($$$$$)
If you're inclined to contribute, simply click here and under the Comments section write "HAH Ortho" and/or any other specific instructions you desire. 

Thanks for the continued support of your thoughts and prayers.  Not only are your fiscal contributions greatly appreciated, but there exists an ongoing critical need for short-term volunteers, especially surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses.  Feel free to contact Terry and Jeannie directly at tj.dietrich99@gmail.com for more information.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Team Sinai Haiti Plans To Return

Team Sinai Haiti's plans were to return for a week of service on December 26, at which time  they would have been the only expatriate medical team present, with the long term volunteers being scheduled out for the Christmas/New Year holidays. Unfortunately, fate intervened, forcing them to cancel their trip.  Read the rest of their story.
All packed up but no place to go!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

US Worker Held In Haiti Jail - Says He's Being Extorted

Paul Waggoner, humanitarian relief worker in Haiti and co-founder of the international NGO, Materials Management Relief Corps (MMRC) has been apparently unjustly detained in a Haitian prison. Add your voice to call on Senator Kerry to exhaust all means available to him and the U.S. government to ensure Mr. Waggoner's immediate release. 
Over the past couple of days, I have been contacted independently by 3 credible individuals who have brought the plight of Paul Waggoner (aka Little Paul) to my attention.  Each one of these veteran Haiti volunteers have had first hand knowledge of Little Paul and have vouched for his passion for the Haitian people and the contributions he has made to Hopital Adventiste since the Big Quake.
Read more of the story in Jessica Scott's blog, AOL News and the Men's Journal.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Trip In Brief From Flight AA 816 – 17 December 2010 By Scott Nelson

We thought that it was over when we finished all of the urgent cases of the week about 6 o’clock last night. After returning to the hospital from a dinner with Dr. Hans Larsen president of Societe Haitien de Orthaedie et Traumatologie we were faced with another patient in our emergency room who had been in a car accident. She had a complex pelvic fracture that under normal circumstances could have waited another day or two prior to surgery, but since there are no other options in Haiti for injuries of this type we prepared our instruments and aroused the operative team. We had just enough time to complete the case prior to our 5:30am departure from the hospital. After finishing the case and washing our instruments we went upstairs to finish packing our bags just as the roosters began to crow. This operation represented a culmination of blessings and teamwork that occurred throughout our trip. 

Just a few of the trip highlights… 
  • Brent Scully, Sebastian, and Randy Tall installed an inverter system to protect our sensitive OR equipment against power surges and the frequent power failures that have inevitably caused our C-arm fluoroscope and monitoring equipment to fail. 
  • Terry and Jeannie Dietrich – are perhaps the biggest of all blessings during this week. They are now on site full time and will be able to maintain continuity of care for our patients and provide a system to increase the productivity of our highly skilled surgical volunteers. Terry is also starting an orthopaedic technician training program which will have a major impact on the services at HAH as well as other hospitals around the country. 
  • We spent a significant amount of time organizing and cleaning the operating room as this is an essential element to performing high quality operations and making the most out of our donated materials. Most all of the instrument and implant trays which were donated in the early days after the earthquake by Synthes, Smith & Nephew, KCI, Stryker and others are still in excellent condition and in regular use. 
  • We upgraded the air conditioning in the sterile supply room thanks to Sebastian who did the dirty work. 
  • Our electrical team also replaced the dangerously rusted out electrical outlets and switches in the OR and clinics 
  • The clinic and orthopaedic x-ray rooms were completely reorganized, painted and scrubbed from top to bottom, giving a whole new look which is more in line with the quality operations that we do. 
  • Patients from far and near, new and return, old and young came for evaluation, treatment and follow up. 
  • Many operations were done both simple and complex including thoracic pedicle screw instrumentation for a T3 burst fracture, Taylor Spatial Frames, hip fractures, femur fractures, and tibia fractures amongst others. 
  • Remediation from my former professor James Matiko who was able to refresh my surgical skills and improve upon the instrument organization process. His support and attention to detail goes well beyond the confines of the operating room. 
  • Adventist Hospital in partnership with Cure International is now recognized as the premier center in Haiti for the treatment of clubfoot. 
  • We were blessed by the cancelled flights of American Airlines and political manifestations which prolonged the stay of Dr. Matiko, Greg Bonner (biomed tech), Jere Chrispens (IT) and others. This honeymoon of productivity was ended with the decision of our Adventist leaders to evacuate expatriate workers in a police escorted motorcade early one morning due to the political instability and airport closures. 
  • Jere Chrispens worked tirelessly with the technicians at Fuji to help develop an x-ray archival system for our digital x-ray machine. 
  • Greg Bonner worked longer hours than the surgery team to resolve the fatal error messages that were preventing the C-arm from functioning. Finally at about 3am on the third day of work he wheeled the machine into the OR with signs of victory. Unfortunately the day after he left it failed again due to an unrelated problem and was again repaired by some diligent orthopaedic surgeons. 
  • Even the little things count - like new x-ray gowns (thanks to Jerry Daly) that we are now able to hang on some hooks in the OR made by Brent. 
Although many other people and events deserve mention, I will end by thanking Marni and the boys who constantly encourage service, risk, and hard work. They encouraged me in my efforts to prioritize patient care over evacuation orders and when she found out that I was operating until the last hour of my stay, Marni even suggested that maybe I should stay longer. 
For the first time since January 12 the hospital is void of surgeons, but the patients just keep coming…

Friday, December 17, 2010

Update From Scott Nelson

Received the following note from Scott 7 hours ago, hopefully the case went well and they are safely on the plane by now.  My understanding is that the liaison with the local orthopaedist was to arrange coverage for their patients during Terry's absence.  

Just got back from dinner with Hans Larsen, president of the Haitian Ortho Society.  it was good. On arrival at HAH we found a 27 y F sp MVA with saacroiliac fracture/dislocation. I woke up Vieja and Adrian and they are cooking up the pelvis set to get her operated just in time to catch our ride to the airport at 5:30am. Also I got the C arm working today and we successfully operated on the 69 yo blind guy with the proximal femur fracture (see image below) that was 6wks out. Suffice it to say all is well - map buele. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Update From Terry Dietrich

Had 7 cases today including the 69y/o blind gentleman with the subtrochanteric femur fracture, everything went well.  Followed by another BIG clinic which finished about 5:30.  Called Hans Larsen (prominent Haitian orthopod) and went to Petionville for dinner with him at a good restaurant. Made it back before 10 to find a 27 y/o in xray with an unstable pelvic fracture. Going to the OR in a bit...won't get much sleep before heading to the airport at 5:30 to catch my 8:30 flight. 
I saw a great case in clinic today. 53y/o farmer from 3 hours away. Raises just enough rice and beans on his small farm to keep his wife and five children from going hungry. Just hand to mouth, nothing left over to sell and get ahead. Has no animals or machinery to assist with the hard work, mainly a hoe to till and plant and scythe to harvest. Has TERRIBLE knees, bad valgus with instability bilaterally. In addition, the left hyperextends 40 degrees, walks way crouched over. 
Jeannie made it to Cabarete fine after a 9+ hour convoy trip and bus ride. I'll join her tomorrow hopefully by 3pm.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Update From Scott Nelson

I received the following update from Dr Nelson this evening.  I also had the opportunity to speak with him by phone earlier today.  Both he and Terry are safe and in good spirits.  
The day was kicked off by the evacuation of nearly all the expatriate employees and volunteers who fled the country in a police escorted convoy just before dawn. A core team of essential medical volunteers consisting of Terry Dietrich, Scott Nelson and our Dominican anesthesiologist and nurse stayed behind to take care of the patients that had been waiting for urgent surgeries and provide post operative care for the recently operated cases. As day broke the patients began to line the hallways. There were more patients than usual since many had not been able to come last week due to lack of public transportation during the riots that broke out across Port au Prince. We operated on seven patients today consisting of several severe fractures of the upper extremity which would have almost certainly gone without proper treatment had we not been there. In spite of the fact that we have closed ourselves down to new trauma referrals, seven more urgent cases are already scheduled for tomorrow. Fortunately there has been no civil unrest at the hospital or immediate area surrounding the property and we hope and pray for peace and God’s guidance as we continue our work.

Back Home

The last couple of days have been a blur for me.  Ended the trip on a low point with a patient who underwent IM rodding Sunday evening then probably threw a pulmonary embolus postop.  Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our anesthesiologist shackled with limited resources, the young man expired early in the morning a couple of hours before we left for the airport.
Travelled to the terminal uneventfully in the hospital ambulance with red light flashing.  Stood in line for over 4 hours waiting for our boarding pass then embarked on the journey back to Los Angeles via New York.  The circuitous itinerary was courtesy of Delta Airlines as American Airlines still was not flying in and out of Port au Prince.
Had my initial bout of GI distress in LAX, an hour later in Redlands all hell broke loose...I couldn't keep any fluids down.  Thankfully, our surgery center anesthesiologist, Jeanie Sprengel, stopped by the house, started an IV on me and pumped in 3L of fluid before I started to feel better.  I'm currently back in the office seeing patients and am almost good as new.  I'm most grateful for her intervention and even more thankful that I survived the majority of the trip without illness.
Hopital Adventiste's parent NGO, Adventist Health International,  recommended this past weekend that all expat volunteers vacate the premises by today (read more from Jessica Scott) due to escalating civil unrest. Scott, Terry and Jeannie were planning to leave by this coming weekend although I'm waiting to here more of their updated plans.
I didn't get much of chance to post a more detailed summary of our trip with case highlights but will try to due so with a couple of "retroactive" posts over the next few days.
Good to be home but I'm filled with mixed emotion as so much has been accomplished from an orthopaedic surgical standpoint at HAH since the Big Quake and the potential was great.  My fear is now that with Haiti's deepening election crisis after two leading presidential candidates rejected a proposed recount of last month's disputed vote that enthusiasm for volunteer involvement will begin to wane.  I hope and pray that my concerns will not come to fruition.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

C-arm Is Now Functional!

As many are aware, the image intensifier (C-arm) at Hopital Adventiste has been nonfunctional for at least 6 weeks.  For an orthopaedist, that's a major functional impediment and significantly narrows the types of cases that we can operate on.  
There have been numerous attempts by many individuals to bring this radiographic patient back to life all of which have proved fruitless...until Greg Bonner came on the scene.  Greg is a Certified Biomedical Electronics Engineer from Portland, Oregon and travelled to HAH a few days ago with his wife to tackle several pressing projects.  To make a long story short, Greg work diligently, even pulling a couple of all nighters, and finally got the beast up and running again.  Greg is a modest fellow and gave all credit to the Great Physician for solving the problem.  
The first case with the "new" C-arm was a young man with a T3 burst fracture that underwent pedicle screw fixation.  Although not technically impossible, it is much safer to perform this type of surgery under x-ray guidance.
Scott Nelson organizing instruments for the first case with revitalized C-arm
Terry and Scott instrumenting the spine
Image intensifier documenting pedicle screws in place

With respect to other imaging issues, we've also been blessed to have Jere Chrispens, an Information Technology Consultant from Yucaipa, California here for the past week.  He has been working diligently to solve the virus issues plaguing the portable digital x-ray unit we use in the clinic.
Jere on the phone with Fuji tech support

Friday, December 10, 2010

Helping Hands

Got word early this morning that my upcoming Sunday AM flight back home was cancelled so I scrambled to find a flight midweek.  Late for worship, I was met at the front door to the chapel by one of the nurses shouting that a newborn was coding over in the pediatric ward.  I hollered to Tim and Scott inside and we all ran over to help.
The photo above says it all, many hands pitched in attempting to save the little fella's life.  Our efforts were initially successful but he passed on a few hours later.  But the image remains symbolic of Hopital Adventiste's "team effort" volunteer mentality.  I would like to introduce you to a small sample of some of the "helping hands" who have pitched in to get the job done during the past week.
Tim Downey (Appleton, WI) - Nurse Anesthetist
Brent Scully  (Walla Walla, WA) - General Contractor
Sebastian Nicora (Walla Walla, WA) - Electrician


Erin Scott (Washington, DC) - Photographer


Jere Chrispens (Yucaipa, CA) - Information Technology


Randy Tall (Goldendale, WA) - Electrician

Thursday, December 9, 2010

C-Arm Down And Out

The biggest negative to the trip so far has been the fact that the image intensifier has been down for the count since we've been here.   The C-arm is a critical piece of equipment for an orthopaedic service and its absence sorely missed.
Scott on the phone with Puerto Rican tech support
Actually, it has been nonfunctional for the past few weeks in spite of the fact that there have multiple technicians attempting to resurrect it.  There are several patients on the ward and from the clinic awaiting surgical intervention that would be best served with intraoperative imaging.
Terry, Ray, and Jessica rounding on femur fracture patient in traction

The restoration of the C-arm has been the object of a special prayer request in worship over the past two days so your thoughts and prayers would be greatly appreciated as well.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hopital Adventiste On Lockdown

Last night the Haitian presidential election results were posted and the citizens reacted negatively.  In the image below by Damon Winter, Haitians burned tires, trash and earthquake rubble and blocked streets in the capital, Port su Prince.

This morning we met for a group photo before a couple of the volunteers were to leave for the airport.  Shortly after the image below was taken, we were informed that all flights in and out of Port au Prince have been cancelled and the hospital is on lockdown due to the unrest in the streets.  Fortunately, one man's misfortune is our gain as anesthetist par excellence Tim Downey is forced to spend more time with us.

L to R: Terry Dietrich, Jere Chrispens, Tim Downey, Scott Nelson, Jim Matiko, Ray Grijalva
Nathan Lindsey receives word in morning worship that another volunteer missed flight

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hopital Adventiste Redux, Part 1

I had good intentions of posting at least a couple of progress reports by now but a combination of a busy schedule, tiredness and a little laziness have foiled my efforts so far.  Scott Nelson and I took the red eye out of LA this past Friday night and flew to Miami by jet then hopped on a small prop plane for the 2 hour flight to Port au Prince.
Scott checking out familiar landmarks as we flew over the DR
We were aware that American Airlines currently had an embargo on boxes (contrary to what has been previously recommended) so we packed everything into bags.  Prior to leaving home, we checked on the AA website and noted that we could pay $100 for an extra bag each so we decided to avail ourselves of that option.  When we checked into the ticket counter, we were informed that only Business Class patrons were afforded that luxury.  Finally, after a little sweet talk, and with the aid of the Excess Baggage Waiver provided to us by Amy Lindsay, the agent gave us the OK and even waived the excess fees.
 Suitcases purchased from a thrift store are an excellent option to transport supplies
Immigration and Customs in Port au Prince were a breeze.  When we exited the terminal, we were accosted with the usual hord of "red hats" wanting to assist us with our baggage, each one who touched our gear for even second expected compensation.  
Scott managed to escape the throngs of "red hats" with only one assistant
Fortunately, Nathan was waiting with the trusted Montero and we had an uneventful trip to the hospital.  It was great to see Terry and Jeanie again and toured the hospital which gave us the opportunity to view the changes (or lack thereof) that had transpired since our last visit.
Scott and Terry reviewing cases for the upcoming week

Monday, November 29, 2010

Presidential Election

In the image below by Ramon Espinosa/Associated Press, a child holds up an unmarked ballot, one of thousands left on the floor of a polling station in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, a day after the presidential election. Protests roiled the vote and 12 of the 18 presidential candidates called for the election to be canceled...Hopital Adventiste braces for the sequelae.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New YouTube Channel From CaribbeanOrtho

A new YouTube channel for Orthopedic Ministries of the Caribbean has been launched. The channel is called CaribbeanOrtho and their first video is up! Please take a minute and twenty seconds to watch and share with your friends and family.  Their mission is to spread the word of God's work at HAH and to raise money for indigent patient funds.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Haiti Can't Wait

Following the massive earthquake in January 2010, Haiti, already the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, has now reached catastrophic levels of sickness, disease, and homelessness. There are still over 2 million people who are either living in makeshift tents, or altogether homeless.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Terry And Jeannie Arrive At HAH

Before leaving Hopital Adventiste from their first volunteer stint, Terry and Jeanie Dietrich felt God’s call to return, not for a week or two, but for a year, to give continuity of healthcare to the people there. Since that time, they have been preparing for a year long commitment in medical service to the hospital there and have finally arrived.  
In the following image, Terry can be seen on the left operating on a burn contracture patient with volunteer Duncan Miles on a prior trip to Haiti.  
The following note was written by Jeanie yesterday...read the complete post here.
We arrived today and the city seemed cleaner at least in some of the places. The market place was still quite dirty with rotten food, and dirty clothes on the ground in front of the market place. But they are starting to clean up the rubble and trash. You even see trucks being loaded with the rubble of the concrete. We were put into a room in the new wing of the hospital down where Scott and Brook had their rooms. We have two hospital beds pushed together with mattress on them. We are glad for the hospital beds. Our room has a small bathroom and two oscillating fans above our bed. A sink is attached to one of the walls of the bedroom. Our rooms back door over looks the laundry area and maintenance area.
They have had about 5 cholera patients come through the ER each day. Other hospitals in the area have had many more then this. They are thinking that the peak of the cholera epidemic here in Port au Prince will be mid December.
Follow the Dietrich's progress on their blog and website and consider donating to their upcoming projects.

Haitians Plunge Into Muck To Stem Cholera

Duquesne Fils-Aimé, stripped to the waist, stepped gingerly into the canal, drawing stares of astonishment from the spectators above. When he ducked his head under the water — if one could call it that — an audible gasp rose from the crowd.  Plastic bottles and bags, shredded underwear, shoes and endless globs of unidentifiable black muck bobbed like a fetid tarp around Mr. Fils-Aimé and his colleagues as they started another shift — cleaning out the canal by hand.
“We do the bad,” Mr. Fils-Aimé, 41, said of his work, “and maybe people won’t get sick.”
Read the rest of the story here.  Image below by Damon Winter.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

David Harris Chapel Presentation

This past Wednesday, I had the privilege of attending a special Loma Linda University Chapel Service featuring the stories of volunteers who have served at Hopital Adventiste since The Big Quake.  The following is the presentation by David Harris, a student volunteer currently enrolled in the Medical Radiography program at Loma Linda University.
In January of this year, I had no idea what I was doing with my life. Not in the short term anyway. I was at La Sierra University winter quarter, completing my final pre-reqs for the Medical radiography program here. I did a lot of praying and soul searching. And after a few inquisitive e-mails and some opened doors, I decided to go to Haiti to help out at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti. I arrived on April 9, not really knowing what I had gotten myself into.
I did lots of things while I was there. I helped pass out food, organize transportation, pick up big groups at the airport, organize our church service, and oriented short term volunteers. But my main job was taking care of central supply.
Being in charge of Central supply proved to be quite a challenge. After our morning meeting I’d spend my days, sorting supplies, seeing what we had and what we needed. It was particularly hard for me since the extent of my medical training at the time came from watching “Srubs” and “House”.
However, the real challenge came when I had to find medical supplies that we desperately need. Because many relief and medical supplies were stuck in the ports we had no real chain of supply. We were forced to rely on our ground connections as well as volunteers flying in with suit cases full of supplies. It was a constant struggle to keep the hospital stocked with simple things such as the proper bandages, right size of needles or IV catheters, sterile OR equipment, and IV fluids.
Like many other medical needs, blood was in short supply and in high demand in Haiti, as I discovered in the case of Johnny Cherry.
Unlike many of the ortho patients, Johnny’s injury was not earthquake related. In early June, he fell off a building, was paralyzed from the waist down, and needed spinal surgery. Dr. Nelson was leaving the hospital in a few days and we didn’t know if the surgeon following him would be comfortable doing the operation, so we needed to do get it done asap. In order to do the surgery we needed a unit of blood. But there was no blood for Johnny.
So I volunteered to go give blood. I went to General Hospital downtown with one of the translators. It was my first time taking a tap-tap (public transportation). It was not the most pleasant experience: really loud, very cramped, and super hot.
I was able to just walk in to the Haitian red cross and donate without too much hassle. The process was similar to donating here, there were fewer questions in the screening exam and there wasn’t a big comfortable chair, just a metal folding chair with a blood bag hanging off the side. But the donation itself went smoothly.
However, they were very slow and reluctant to cross and type the blood. We waited for a few hours, and then, we were told to come back later in the afternoon. After a frustrating wait, we returned to retrieve the blood the following morning.
When I returned to the hospital, cooler with blood in hand, Johnny was in pre-op. He was borderline hysterical. I understood the jist of what he was saying because he was speaking Spanish not creole. He was feeling abandoned, angry, and scared. I would be too.
He calmed down when I came in with the blood, saying this was my blood that I was giving to him. He replied with a simple, “gracias amigo”. In that moment, a calm wash over him that impacted me deeply.
Working in central supply, I didn’t get to directly see the results of the work I did at the hospital because most of it was behind the scenes. But this experience was so personal. Knowing that I gave Johnny the opportunity to have a better life and being able to witness the calming effect was a humbling and mind blowing experience.
So what is there to take away from this? I left my family, friends, and the comforts of home for a few months and gave a pint of my blood for a stranger. Why? Because Jesus left paradise in heaven with His Father to live on earth and gave ALL his blood for me! That’s true love. In response I don’t see how I can do anything but share that love with people around me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Earning the Trust of Haitians With HIV

For the past nine months, Andre Lambertson and Lisa Armstrong have been reporting in Haiti, focusing mainly on HIV and AIDS. At first glance, it seems to be a doubly depressing topic. As if the earthquake, with its death, displacement and lost limbs, were not enough, they've had to turn their attention to those who are even more vulnerable, and who, because of their disease, are often forced to live in the shadows.
Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Photographing Cholera’s Awful Toll In Haiti

If you thought that Emilio Morenatti would have had enough of the world’s hot spots after he lost his left foot in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan 15 months ago, then you’re not thinking like a photojournalist.
Mr Morenatti has returned to the worst of it, covering the cholera epidemic in Haiti, which had killed more than 900 people by Sunday. His work is presented here along with pictures by Ramon Espinosa of The Associated Press, Andres Martinez Casares of the European Pressphoto Agency andDamon Winter of The New York Times.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Gabriel Team Returns To Haiti

Follow the progress of the team from Southwest Medical Group in Vancouver, Washington on their blog.  This is an experienced, dedicated team making their third trip to Hopital Adventiste since the Big Quake.
The Gabriel Team has returned to Haiti for the third time since the devastating earthquake back in January. This group is the largest so far as twelve volunteers have stepped up to support the tremendous need that has increased tenfold since an outbreak of cholera has made it's way through the recently flooded country. Thousands of confirmed cases have already been reported and few who get sick are able to survive.

Hopital Adventiste is an entirely different place now. Hundreds of seemingly endless boxes of supplies that once lined the hallways have been used up and very few people inhabit the hospital grounds. Back in June, the Adventiste campus doubled as a residence for hundreds of displaced earthquake victims and hospital volunteers. It was a busy place and people piled into the halls in hopes to receive free care from the generous volunteer based staff. Families and children old and young would occupy the waiting areas and a the quite murmur of conversation in creole would provide a reminder of life as usual following such immense devastation. Volunteers were regularly scheduled each week and there was a semblance of organization and hope. 
Today, all the volunteers have been relocated or have left entirely. Since Haiti's policy of free healthcare for all had expired back in June, few people have the means to get healthcare. Surgery cases are limited to those who have the means to pay for care. Team Gabriel are currently the only team at Adventiste and while they have several cases lined up for the beginning of the week, they might be headed to another camp to treat immediate cases of cholera. To make things worse, the C-arm, a critical piece of equipment for orthopedic cases is broken.
It is a picture that no one here probably expected after the overwhelming support that came in after the earthquake. But it's a grim reminder that the situation in Haiti remains bleak and continues to decline.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Haiti's Second Calamity: Scenes From The Cholera Outbreak

Fueled by a lack of clean water, a cholera epidemic has taken hold of the country, claiming nearly 600 victims since its outbreak in October. Photographer Moises Saman visits the center of the epidemic in the Artibonite region.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cooking With Ray

Members of a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary trip to an orphanage in Haiti recount the challenges and blessings of serving on the kitchen crew.  Although not specifically referring to service at Hopital Adventiste, their comments relative to performing the most menial of tasks parallels the reflectons of many volunteers in a similar setting.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Song From Haiti

This performance was recorded inside the collapsed structure that was the majestic Port-au-Prince Cathedral (Cathedrale Notre-Dame de l'Assomption). The performer and songwriter is Olince Calixte, 63, a blind man who is living with his family in an improvised settlement adjacent to the Cathedral. It is a truly moving reflection on the horrible events of January 12th, 2010.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Doctor Heads Out To Haiti On A Medical Mission

Dr. Terry Dietrich, an orthopedic surgeon from Appleton, and his wife, Jeannie, a retired nurse, are raising funds for Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti (HAH), where they will be working for the next year. The Dietrichs plan to start a charitable fund for the hospital's sustainability. Their goal is to raise at least $500,000. To contribute funds or for more information, email the Dietrichs at tj.dietrich99@gmail.com.

The following post was written by Kara Patterson and can be accessed in its entirety on the postcrescent.com website.


During short medical mission trips to Haiti in April and August, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Terry Dietrich and his wife, Jeannie, a retired nurse, cared for many patients whose injuries and conditions predated the island nation's January earthquake.

Among those patients was a 9-year-old girl whose neighbor had brought her to Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti (HAH), where the Appleton couple was working, to see if a doctor could correct the severe growth deformity that was causing her to become bowlegged.

"I'm amazed, there is this neighbor man, not even her family, and he brings her six hours to Port-au-Prince to see if some care can be given, not even knowing," said Terry Dietrich, 64, who has spent 39 years contributing time to medical missions — most often with his wife at his side — in developing countries such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Romania, El Salvador and a handful of African nations. "I said, of course, we can take care of her, and (the neighbor) started crying. It's things like this that really affected Jeannie and me, to see the hearts the Haitian people have for their own people and knowing we can take care of people like this."

When Terry's friend and orthopedics colleague, Dr. Scott Nelson, who had developed HAH from a small general hospital into a specialized center for orthopedic care after the earthquake, asked Terry to return to Haiti and run the hospital upon Nelson's scheduled departure, the Appleton couple agreed after careful consideration. They couldn't let the opportunities for orthopedic care for Haitians of all income levels leave the country with Nelson.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Caribbean Orthopedics Rolls Out A New Webpage!

Orthopaedic surgeon Terry Dietrich and his Registered Nurse wife Jeannie are preparing to return to Haiti this month to begin their yearlong commitment to serve at Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti. In preparation for their service, a new webpage is under development where you can follow their mission, their work in Haiti, and support them in their medical ministry to the people in Carrefour Haiti.  Please check out Caribbean Orthopedics and visit often for the latest updates from the Dietrichs.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Plenty Of Mess Without A Hurricane

The following poignant post was written by Jessica Scott, RN.  Jessica was a Trauma ICU nurse in Georgia before moving to Haiti in June of this year to volunteer for six months at Hopital Adventiste.  You can read more about her highs and lows on the Therapeutic Communication blog.  What I really liked about her note was its honesty, the volunteer exeperience has it up and downs, it's frequently a roller coaster of emotions. Her tour of duty is almost up, hopefully we will cross paths when we return to HAH in December.
I think a baby has died everyday this week in Peds. Or at least it feels that way. I haven't been able to sleep two nights because wailing mother's are being consoled outside of my window. Mother's losing babies that have nothing to do with earthquakes, cholera, or hurricanes. It's just life in Haiti. 

I haven't been involved. I haven't been involved because both the other hospitals in Carrefour who we have great relationships with and who often save patients we can't closed this week. What a disaster. They were both planning on closing in December, but with the cholera and hurricane one stopped serving orthopedics and now is a cholera treatment center (for one patient that might have cholera). The other was a tent hospital that wanted to disband before the hurricane (that did not hit our area).

They will both be missed. But they were closing in December anyway...I think we are now the only hospital in Carrefour. I wasn't involved with the babies because I think we are the only hospital in Port-au-Prince doing orthopedics...maybe the only one in the country... 
I have gotten a phone call everyday this week about a fractured femur transfer. We just don't have the capacity to be seen as a trauma hospital. It's really frustrating because at the end of the day, there is probably nowhere else for a femur fracture to go. We have eight trauma patients in house waiting for major surgeries. They were waiting for blood. Now they are simply waiting for manpower...for a doctor that's staying for more than eight days. 
Our patients are still only getting one meal a day. I think that is perhaps the worst thing of all. We're talking about developing a new wing to the hospital and a great rehab center when the reality is if Elenor or I doesn't remember to go feed Paul (a patient here with no family) he will only get rice and beans at 1pm. He won't even get any water. That's a problem. 
I believe we are in way over our heads here. We are all trying as hard as we can to make a difference and "improve healthcare in Haiti" and all that mess, but truthfully, the disaster doesn't seem much better than eleven months ago. 
Tuesday night we had five trauma patients come in within an hour and a half. It scares me to think that if that had happened just six weeks ago I would have been the only ex-pat nurse here. Fortunately we had a great OR team and three full time nurses to jump into the action and get the patients straightened out. Everybody lived, and for now that seems to be the only goal.
I apologize if this post is a mess of ideas and complaints, but as the end of my time here approaches I wonder what, if anything, I have actually accomplished. A friend told me the other night that she would love to work long term in Haiti as long as she didn't have a job someplace that she felt would completely fall apart when she left. Sometimes I fear that's what we've gotten ourselves into. I pray that it's not true.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Haiti Braced As Tropical Storm Tomas Sweeps In

Haiti has been placed on high alert as a powerful storm sweeps in, threatening thousands of earthquake survivors still living in camps.  Forecasters say Tropical Storm Tomas is gaining strength and will begin to lash Haiti by late Thursday, reaching full force by Friday. Some camps are being evacuated and officials have told those living in tents to move to stronger shelter.  Health workers fear heavy rain will exacerbate Haiti's cholera epidemic.
Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mirlanda's Story

Mirlanda, a ten year old Haitian girl, suffered severe injuries during the devastating earthquake in January 2010. Her story, her recovery, is told through the accounts of a plastic surgeon, a physiotherapist and a photographer.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Radio Rounds Special: The Cholera Epidemic In Haiti

Radio Rounds interviews Dr Evan Lyon of Partners in Health about the cholera epidemic in Haiti.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

ADRA Intensifies Cholera Prevention Efforts Following Outbreak

In the wake of a cholera outbreak in Haiti that has killed more than 300 people and sickened thousands, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is ramping up efforts to prevent the spread of the disease to vulnerable populations in Port-au-Prince.
"The cholera outbreak in Haiti is the worst case scenario," said Fritz Bissereth, country director for ADRA Haiti. "We could not be unconcerned about these particularly difficult moments in the life of the country."
As a result, ADRA is focusing cholera awareness efforts in various camps in Carrefour, a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince where thousands of displaced persons have been living in makeshift shelters since the deadly January 12 earthquake. Using live drama presentations, pamphlets and posters in the local Creole language, ADRA staff and volunteers have instructed residents on the dangers of cholera and prevention practices. In addition, hand sanitizers and a total of 2,880 water purification tabs have been distributed to camp residents. Each tab can disinfect 2.6 gallons (10 liters) of water.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Job's Story

The following video tells the incredible story of one little boy's journey. Job was dropped off at Mission of Hope Haiti and from that moment, his life was forever changed.  Although not directly related to Hopital Adventiste, it is relevant is many volunteers to HAH.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amid Cholera Outbreak In Haiti, Fear And Misery

Inside the courtyard of St. Nicholas Hospital, beyond the gate with the handwritten sign stating “Diarrhea Emergency Only,” lies a grim but unusually orderly scene at the epicenter of this country’s unexpected cholera epidemic.  Scores of children and adults are doubled over or stretched out on every available surface, racked by convulsive stomach disorder or limp with dehydration. Buckets sit by their sides, intravenous solutions drip into their arms. Life hangs in the balance, yet there is a sober, almost eerie calm.
Read the rest of the story from the New York Times here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Haiti - Strength Through Unity

On February 24th, 2010 a dedicated delegation of photogenX photographers traveled to Haiti with hopes to document and connect, speak truth and listen, hold hands and give hugs within the context of Haiti's present circumstances. Upon returning home their work, research, and experiences were presented to a community of influential people from around the world and as a result a movement for ethically responsible development is being galvanized. 
This video speaks of a common-humanity willing to love ones global neighbors and the belief that there is "strength in unity" (which is the official mantra of Haiti). The producers pray that the video will serve to help us all remember those who struggle and to open our hearts to struggle along-side.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Haiti Through The Lens Of Ron Haviv

Award-winning photojournalist Ron Haviv has produced images of conflict and humanitarina crises, including the quake in Haiti, that have made headlines from around the world since the end of the Cold War.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Beauty In The Mess

Nathan Lindsey and his wife Amy moved to Port au Prince to assume the role of Assistant Administrator at Hopital Adventiste.  They have started a blog where you can read more of their adventures.

Haiti Disease Outbreak

With more than 100 confirmed dead and thousands infected, Operation Blessing is responding to an outbreak of cholera in the Haitian town of St. Marc and providing families with desperately needed clean water.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cholera Outbreak In Haiti

Unsanitary conditions, primarily contaminated ater, in disaster-torn Haiti have led to an outbreak of the deadly disease cholera, which has sickened more than 1,500 residents and left another 142 dead.  Watch a video update from Dr Jon Lapook or read more of the story here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

35 Seconds

In the areas of Haiti affected by the January 12, 2010 earthquake, everyone has a story. 35 Seconds is an account of the devastating earthquake from nine people who lived through it and continue to live through it everyday. This thirteen-minute documentary tells the story of a mother who held on to her daughter so tightly that she tore her clothes, an uncle who returned home to find his nephew dead, a man who saw “buildings dancing” and then fall flat, and a woman who was trapped for two days with five of her friends and was the only one to make it out alive. It tells the story of a mother who did not put her baby down for a nap that afternoon, and a little girl trapped under her house for four days.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Breach Of Faith

"I've always believed in God.  How God let this happen?  I am afraid to ask that question...for it will bring some kind of breach to my faith."
Photos and video by Saul Schwarz and Julie Platner.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Strength Of A Higher Magnitude

The lessons a Haitian father taught his son can't be crushed in the rubble of mere concrete and stone.  Read the rest of the story here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Haiti's Heroes

“In medical school, they gave us disaster training,” says Dr. Dubique Kobel. “But I never thought I’d find myself in a situation like this.”
In the aftermath of the January earthquake that devastated Haiti, Dr. Kobel immediately began using his medical training to help his injured neighbors in Port-au-Prince. Today, as director of a PIH clinic that serves Parc Jean-Marie Vincent, a large settlement where 80,000 of earthquake survivors now live, he is still tirelessly providing medical care to those most in need.
Watch a video from the Abundance Foundation documenting Dr. Kobel’s work and life at Parc Jean-Marie Vincent.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Longest Two Minutes

On January 12, 2010 a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck in Haiti killing more than 200,000, mainly in Port-au-Prince, and leaving millions homeless.  Two survivors recount the harrowing experience.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Haiti Revisited

Haiti continues to struggle to recover from the devastating January 12 earthquake that killed up to 300,000 people, left millions homeless and shattered the capital city.  In the image below by Carlos Barria, pregnant women wait in line for tent distribution near the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince.
View the rest of the images in the series by Reuters here.