"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

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.