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Friday, January 29, 2010

The US Armed Forces at HAH

US Ambassador Thomas Merten sent in the troops today.  When the ambassador visited Hopital Adventiste d' Haiti on Wednesday, I asked him for two things a structural inspection of the hospital and bottled water.  Well, today just as I was heading to the airport to pick up the Parkridge surgical team, up walked 3 U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to do a full inspection of the facility.  While I do not have their final written report, I am happy to report that they say the entire building is safe to occupy and they would allow their own mothers to sleep here in the hospital.  This is very encouraging and comforting news.

The USACE Team

While the USACE team was inspecting the building two huge U.S. Marine transport trucks arrived, one full of bottled water and one full of food (MREs).  This was a serious boost for our morale as we now have food and water for everyone on the hospital grounds for at least a week.  

I said BIG trucks, full of food and water

A long line of volunteer help to move the MREs and water into the hospital

It's hard to believe that it was only 7 days ago that we were moving our patients out of the hospital for fear of significant structural damage to the southwest wing, what a difference a week makes.  By the way, the Parkridge team is here safe and sound and were already in the O.R. doing cases this afternoon.  Thank you all for your continued prayers and support of our mission here at Hopital Adventiste d' Haiti.

Parkridge team leaving Ft. Pierce FL for Port-au-Prince Haiti

Scroll down for pictures of the 6 babies born here at HAH last night.

1/2 a dozen + babies born last night

Just a quick update this morning.

Our volunteer team from the Southeastern Florida conference worked through the night and I am happy to report that we have seven newborn babies this morning.  All mothers and babies are healthy and recovering well.  I will post pictures of our newest little ones this evening.  Please keep us in your prayers today as we have lots of work to do.

Apparently there were 7 but these were the 6 available for pictures this morning.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kids, Facilities, and Departures

Very busy the last 36 hours but here are a few pics:

Melissa Gregorius Plays with the kids just before departure.

Dr. Mufa shows the wee ones the iPhone

A post-op patient and his family playing cards

Volunteers digging our 8 new latrine ditches 

Clearing for our new USAID water treatment plant (visible in the background)

Kay Wilkens (Univ. Texas), The Jobes, Melissa Gregorius on departure day.

The surgical nurse team and Dr. Jesse head home (Myself & Joe Kim LLUSM 2010 on the right)

My roommate who shows himself every once in a while

Again... there are so many people and groups wanting to volunteer their time and skills here at HAH that we have had to setup a management group stateside simply to orchestrate the volunteer groups.  We have asked that all volunteers or groups of volunteers wishing to serve here to please contact the LLU Global Health Institute prior to making travel plans.  Haiti is going to need volunteer help for a very long time and we will need each of you at some point, just not all at once.  Thanks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Diplomats & the Media

The Hopital Adventiste d' Haiti was host to some very distinguished quests today.  Both the U.S. and French ambassadors to Haiti visited our hospital.  Ambassador Kenneth Merten of the United States and Ambassador Didier Le Bret of France arrived shortly after 10 AM.  They were both very approachable men and seemed keenly interested in hearing from the people here at HAH.  There was a clear theme during their visit, that the collaborative efforts between the French triage team and the American surgical teams has been a wonderful and successful partnership.

Ambassador Merten and I had a number of opportunities to talk as we toured the hospital facility.  He expressed his gratitude to all of the volunteer groups here at HAH but especially to Loma Linda University and Adventist Health International for their strategic and long standing relationship with HAH.  He indicated that prior to his visit he was already aware of our involvement here and was quite surprised at the success and organization that has been achieved in the two weeks since the disaster.  He shared asked if there was anything he could do for us here and offered his direct contact information to facilitate such requests.  I've already made contact with him and received back a personalized response and am hopeful that he will help to fulfill some of our critical needs.

Of course along with diplomats come the media.  There were multiple film crews and reporters here during the Ambassadors visit today including a crew from The Hope Channel.  The Hope Channel crew interviewed both ambassadors, Dr. Chris Jobe, Dr. Honore, Dr. Archer, one of our surgical nurses and myself.  The segment should air either Wed. 1/27 at 11:00AM EST or the following Wednesday at the same time.  Later in the day I was contacted by a San Bernardino Sun reporter wanting to interview myself and one of the LLU surgeons.  So for those of you in the Inland Empire, keep your eyes peeled for an interview with Dr. Jobe and yours truly.

L - R Dr. Lesly Archer, Andrew Haglund, U.S. Ambassador Merten, U.S. Secret Service, French Ambassador Le Bret, Dr. Ely Honore
Front Row L - R Dr. Lesly Archer, U.S. Ambassador Merten, Mrs. Emilie Clotaire, Dr. Patrick (head of the French triage team), French Ambassador Le Bret

 Dr. Jobe shocks Ambassador Le Bret when he tells him we have teams headed this way for weeks to come.

The Hope Channel interviews Dr. Archer in the Maternal and Child Health clinic.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Friends and Fuel Trucks - A Pictorial

We've had another set of remarkable days here at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti.  Arrivals, departures, and a drive across town in the daylight, have provided a few pictures that tell some of the story...

Chris Vannucci and Mike Fishell head home in the box truck, the 1st of the LLU team to leave.  (not quite the luxury we flew down in)

The 1000 bed, 50 O.R. USS Comfort has arrived and is anchored in the bay off Port-au-Prince.  We have been able to transfer several of our most critical patients to the ship.

Total collapse

Much needed fuel has arrived in Haiti.


More destruction

 Sugar cane for sale above the dump/river.
(the cane was swarming with flys)

The beautiful Haitian children riding the bus.

My friend goes home.  Dr. Nelson headed home to the Dominican for a few days of much needed rest but plans to return here to HAH this weekend.

A quick note about our fund raising effort.  While I do not have accurate figures to share, I understand that the LLU Haiti Relief fund is doing extremely well.  Thank you all so much and please continue to give.  The ongoing and long term needs of this facility are great and your monies will help this community immensely.

Lastly, there are so many people and groups wanting to volunteer their time and skills here at HAH that we have had to setup a management group stateside simply to orchestrate the volunteer groups.  We have asked that all volunteers or groups of volunteers wishing to serve here to please contact the LLU Global Health Institute prior to making travel plans.  Haiti is going to need volunteer help for a very long time and we will need each of you at some point, just not all at once.  Thanks.  

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sabbath at the Hopital

We have had an amazing day here at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti. Sabbath here was rather like a Sabbath at an Adventist campmeeting. Morning services were held and hymns (albeit slightly distorted) were broadcast over our sea of patients in their tents.

We were blessed with the arrival of Dr. Lew Zirkle of Sign foundation an innovator in orthopedic implants for the developing world. With Dr. Zirkle’s assistance and equipment the surgical team tackled our pending femur fracture patients.

Dr. Lew Zirkle and his assistant Jeanne Dillner

Fractured Femurs

We were also excited to have the LLU Public Health Assessment team here at the hospital, with special thanks to the ongoing work of Dr. Ryan Sinclair on our water treatment system. This team is working feverishly to improve the emerging public health crisis at the Seventh-day Adventist university up the street from us where there are approximately 30,000 refugees camped out. (picture of the team in the post below)

Last but not least one of the highlights of the day was the arrival of a Field Operating Room from GlobalMedic of Canada. This inflatable structure combined with the field O.R. Equipment donated by the U.S. military last night, provides us a contingency plan should our in-hospital O.R.s be compromised by future seismic instability. This structure may also be used for a post-op ward at some point. (pictures of the new facility in the post below)

Some pictures from the week

Wave two of the LLU team arrives (Dr. Chris Jobe far right)

An amputation patient in post op

Our new Sterilizer

Dr. Brad Walter provides post-op care
for an external fixation patient

A day in the O.R.

The U.N. Health cluster meeting

The 8:00AM ACTS volunteer meeting

The LLU Public Health Assessment Team
L - R Walleska Bliss, Dr. Ryan Sinclair, Jesse Bliss
Tiery Osais, Andrea Champlin

Dr. Duwayne Carlson and Dr. Scott Nelson insert a femur pin

Our new inflatable outdoor O.R. tent (thank you GlobalMedic)

A field O.R. kit in pelican cases courtesy of the US Armed Forces

Friday, January 22, 2010

We are staying with our mission

The executive team of Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti met late on Friday night to decide on a course of action for the hospital. We have had a number of mild to moderate aftershocks and earthquakes in our region and there is mixed information about an increase in seismic activity over the next 36 hours. After careful consideration it was decided to continue on our current course but for the safety of the patients we would move all of them outside the hospital. This actually only affected our pacu and post-op patients from today's late surgeries. These two services were offered in the south west wing of the hospital, the only area of the hospital that was determined by a qualified structural engineer as a potential hazard. Additionally it was recommended but not required that the staff sleep outside. We volunteered to serve these people and we're not going to abandon them in their time of need.

Moving the last of the patients out of the hospital just before midnight

I know I keep promising more pictures and I do have them but I've gotta go to bed. Maybe tomorrow...

Aftershocks cause hospital officials to consider evacuation

Jerry Daly, Assistant Vice President for Global Outreach at Loma Linda University, spoke with Andrew Haglund this afternoon. He asked that we update the blog on his behalf while he is occupied at Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti. Daly states:

"I just spoke with Andrew Haglund, LLU's logistical person on the ground and was informed that the recent earthquake revealed further structural damage to the hospital. Based on the geological assessments we have received Andrew is working with the US Military to evacuate the hospital. This may change significantly where we work so right now we are asking those interested to standby while we try to understand what is happening at the hospital. We may be moving to a field hospital set up in a completely different location."

The situation remains dynamic and he is exploring options for a possible evacuation of the hospital. Apparently there are conflicting reports regarding the geological assessment so they are taking a precautionary approach and may move some patients and staff outside.

This situation at the hospital will continue to change, but at this point they are not moving out to another facility just yet. It is very difficult to communicate in the city and it is likely that the situation will shift or change in the coming hours.

Thank you everyone for keeping our folks in Haiti in your prayers.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Sorry folks but I've got my fire hat on and I'm fighting wildfires...
  • Another big aftershock but we and the building are fine
  • The 2nd team from LLU is here in Haiti and in route to our hospital
  • The 2nd generator is being repaired
  • The sterilizer arrived and is being installed  UPDATE: IT WORKS!!!!
  • Trying to open a 4th O.R. room
  • and we are still saving more people than we are losing
Maybe another post later tonight with a pic or two.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pics from Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti

Mid-morning 1/20/2010

The 6.1 aftershock this morning was very strong even for a California boy like me. A general assessment of the structure for any new damage seems to be very encouraging with only a few minor cracks. We then struggled with the generator power system for an hour or two trying to get it operational so that we could start operating. The "engineering" team assures us that one generator will continue to function without issue but the other generator is offline as we wait for parts and support.

Dr. Lesly Archer, Directeur Medical of Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti coordinating in front of the hospital (green scrubs 2nd from left)

There are more than 300 patients (and their families) waiting outside for surgery.

Drs. Tom Moyad, Lijun Wan, and Brad Walter externally fixate a fractured hip.

Morning update

Big aftershock 6.1 a little after 6AM.  Structure still good at SDA hosp.  Working to get power back on.  Text only until we get power.

Awaken at 4AM by a chorus outside on the lawn singing "what a friend we have in Jesus"  These people have amazing faith.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

At the Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti

1:45AM 1/20/2010
Today was a very busy day of travel & logistics.   We have made it to the Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti.  I can dispel all rumors... The hospital stands and is in remarkably good shape.  I actually had to go searching for cracks.  Let me tell you this place is a mighty fortress built on the solid rock.  While the building is sound there is much work to be done.  We were surprised to find a significant number of volunteer doctors and others from the states here organizing and performing triage.  There are over 300 patients here on the grounds who need surgery 50 of them urgently.

Aftershock as I’m writing this,  please keep us in your prayers.  I’d guess it was about a 3.5

The 2 operating rooms are now functioning inside the hospital and they are still using the blue outdoor O.R. as well.  Tomorrow we will do some assessment on how we might be able to convert several other rooms into O.R.s.

Haiti is quickly becoming a country of amputees and is going to need significant long term orthopedic care.  I have great hope that we can start in that direction but I have a long laundry list of medical equipment I need down here right away in order to keep the amputations to a minimum.  While some open fractures can be saved many are requiring amputation, remember we are at day 7 now.  The hospital is running on diesel generator power and diesel is running in very short supply and thus very expensive down here.  I don’t want to sound too down about our situation because like I said I do have hope but we really need to think long term about how we are going to help these people.  We have a great facility here and an opportunity to help one of the most impoverished nations in the world but it is going to take some funding to keep this going.  PLEASE if you can, donate to the LLU Haiti relief fund, these people need all the help we can give them right now and for the future.

I promise to post pics of Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti tomorrow, I just did not have light when I got here.

Good chance of a live webcast to the LLU chapel service tomorrow.

A few quick pics

We found Scott (Haglund, Nelson, Walter)

Heading to surgery

Twins in the neonatal unit

Pre-Op Prayer

We Made it!

Wave one of the LLU team is on the ground in Port-au-Prince Haiti. Once we are at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti and I am able to establish a connection I will post more details. Thank you all for your prayers!

Team L - R:
Jeff Douglass Cure Intl., Dave Mitchell SOS Children's Villages, Dr. Mike Fishell LLU , Andrew Haglund LLU, Dr. Brad Walter Cure Intl., Chris Vannucci LLU. Many thanks to Hop-A-Jet and all those who provided the very nice ride from Florida to Haiti, our last luxury for a while.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wheels up at 0800 1/19

Quick update...

Marni Nelson reports significant relief got to Scott on Saturday.

Lew Zirkle and his Ortho surgical team should have arrived in PaP last night.

The LLU team has been joined by an Orthopedic Surgeon friend of Scott's, Dr. Brad Walter who has Haiti experience and we are guarenteed to fly in on the Tuesday 8:00AM charter relief flight direct to PaP.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Three members of LLU’s Team are on their way

Sorry for the late update to the blog but I’ve been a little busy today finishing up logistics for the team, packing 100+ lbs of surgical gear and packing my personal goods for a trip into a very hostile environment. I am writing this from a terminal in LAX as I wait for a red-eye flight to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. In FLF I will join Mike Fischell (Anesthesiologist) and Christopher Vannnucci (Physician Assistant) both flying in from Las Vegas. We are scheduled to fly from FLF direct to PaP on a donated charter relief flight at 1:00PM eastern, but we’ve heard they are starting to limit even those previously “approved” charter flights. If we don’t fly tomorrow we are guaranteed on a Tuesday flight. The second part of the team will come in on similar fights on Wed or Thurs.

While I have had no direct communication with Scott since 5 AM yesterday morning I did speak several times with Marni. She has also had very limited contact with Scott but indicates that the supplies and team that arrived yesterday did get to him and provided some level of relief to he and his exhausted team.

Fund Raising update:

The LLU Haiti Relief fund has received over $35K since Thursday Jan 14th. We hear there is significantly more in the pipeline. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH and please keep the dollars flowing. Just so you all know, those dollars will go directly to the Haitian people and Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti. Your dollars are NOT funding travel costs or logistics, those costs are being absorbed by LLU, GHI, and AHI. Click here to donate now.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

WOW great fund raising news

Just in...

The LLU Haiti relief fund has brought in more than $25,000 in just 48 hours. This is great but we need those donations to keep flowing. LLU is committed to this project for the long haul which will take dollars. A reminder that these dollars go directly to support Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti in Port-au-Prince for on going medical relief efforts. Please continue to promote the link at or direct to the LLU Haiti relief page.

LLU Surgical team heading to Haiti

1/16/2010 6:00PM PST

Christopher Jobe, MD Orthopedic Surgeon
DuWayne Carlson, MD Orthopedic Surgeon
Michael Fishell MD Anesthesiologist
Christopher Vannucci Physician Assistant
Andrew Haglund LLU GIS Specialist, Logistics & Communications
Melanie Jobe LLU Logistics & Language (French)

The bulk of this team will fly out of Ft. Lauderdale Florida on a shared charter relief flight with partner organization Cure International and should arrive in PaP on Monday night.  The second wave should arrive late Wednesday.  The team will be carrying with them as many surgical supplies as allowed by the charter company.  Scott has been instrumental is identifying exact supplies needed based on the cases he is dealing with.  This includes surgical saws & drills, medical forms, and disposables.

Good News
Update from Scott’s assistant in the D.R. reports that 4 planes worth of medical supplies and a surgical team has successfully landed in PaP and are on trucks headed to Scott.

News coverage of Scott at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti

Early morning report from Dr. Nelson

1/16/2010 5:15AM PST

Scott reports this morning that he worked most of the night fighting with gangrene and septicemia and much of his work unfortunately was amputations rather than stabilizations. He remains upbeat and is as focused as ever on the mission ahead of him. He is encouraged to hear that reinforcements from LLU and the orthopedic community will be arriving shortly. He was also thrilled to hear that the LLU community was seeing his images and donating via the LLU Haiti relief fund.

For those readers who have been to the Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti, Scott asked me to relay a sad story. The son of the woman in the yellow dress was sadly crushed to death. He apparently was trapped but alive for about 48 hours and the woman in the yellow dress was able to be with him most of that time. During the recovery effort to free him, a crane broke and dropped a large concrete slab crushing him. Scott said that while she was clearly still grieving the woman in the yellow dress was back on duty at Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dr. Nelson operating at the SDA hospital

1/15/2010 5:45PM PST


Just talked with Scott. He made it to Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti in Port-au-Prince today and has started operating. The hospital is in as good or better condition than any other of the half a dozen hospitals he has visited in PaP thus far. Upon arrival he was greeted by Dr. Archer and immediately performed a life-saving amputation. Although the hospital is structurally sound, the Haitians are reluctant to enter and thus an operating suite has been established in the parking lot under a blue tarp. Scott indicates that people are already starting to change their willingness to enter the building and is hopeful they can start operations inside soon. Scott indicates there are weeks worth of orthopedic surgical cases to be done and are literally lying in the streets. He reiterated his statement that he believes he is one of the only surgical teams operating in PaP and will continue to do so until reinforcements arrive.

Dr. Nelson and Dr. Archer send their greetings to the entire SDA church, the LLU community at large and a special greeting to the LLUSM 2010 class. Aside from PRAYER the major request at this time is for donations to go to the
LLU Haiti relief fund.

The road from downtown PaP to diquini where Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti is located

Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti with outdoor operating room

Dr's Archer & Nelson stop to pray in the outdoor O.R. prior to surgery

Satellite imagery acquired 1/14/2010 of Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti with outdoor O.R. visible (blue tarp)