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Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Translator Tribute

Greetings from the Hopital.  While we continue to see untreated earthquake related trauma from the Jan. 12 quake, we are functioning more like a hospital and less like a disaster response unit every day.  We do still have approximately 40 patients outside in tents but, have the entire 2nd floor NE wing devoted to and filled with in-patients.  The 1st floor SE wing is also filled with patients in our pre-op and two post-op rooms.  At any point in time we are housing about 50 patients inside the main hospital and another 20 or so in the in-patient pediatrics and obstetrics wards in the polyclinic building.  We continue to staff and support a very active 24x7 emergency room, as well as OB/GYN, Ortho, and Medicine clinics Monday - Friday.  The operating room remains very busy averaging 15 surgical cases per day, 8 - 10 orthopedic/reconstructive, 2 - 3 OB, and the balance general surgical cases.  The stream of volunteer medical staff continues to flow into the hospital here thanks to the efforts of our coordinating body at the LLU Global Health Institute.

On Wednesday morning seven of our translators–a group of handsome, strong young men–surprised us at our morning briefing by giving a heart-warming thank-you and tribute.  They had it all planned and staged and even had made special wooden plaques that they gave to some of our long term volunteers.  The plaques read, "Thank you for helping us in Haiti, together we move."  The translators have been a God-send.  They are always friendly and eager to help (and their help is much needed).  Communication has been a big challenge, since the majority of volunteers speak neither french or creole fluently.  Imagine 70 english-speaking volunteers trying to communicate with hundreds of patients, family members and the 100+ Haitian hospital staff on a daily basis–impossible without the devoted help of these really amazing guys.

  The O.R. translator team and Dr. Chandy

Thanks all around

Friday, March 19, 2010

OCC Coloring Books in Haiti

My good friend Irene Naesse, a geography teacher at Orange Coast College (OCC) sent me the following email a little less than a month ago:

I am going to challenge my students to each bring in a coloring book and crayons to send to you in Haiti for the kids.  I have about 300 students this that is a lot of crayolas! 

Well about 10 days ago Irene delivered 4 Xerox copy-paper boxes full of coloring books and crayons to my house so my wife Laurel could bring them with her to Haiti this last weekend.  While Laurel could not bring them all, she did pack a couple dozen books and crayon sets in with the medical supplies she carried in her luggage.  The remaining coloring books and crayons will be carried in by other volunteers heading here over the next few months.  Below are some pictures of the OCC coloring books bringing joy and healing to the kids of Haiti.

Merci beaucoup to Irene and the OCC Geography students.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CURE Intl - Orthopedic Excellence

The quality of the reconstructive surgical program we have today is a direct result of the collaboration with our partner CURE International.  CURE is a christian organization that operates nearly a dozen teaching hospitals in developing nations around the world with a focus on surgical treatments for children with disabilities and deformities.  Their experience in operating hospitals in the developing world and providing top quality care in challenging environments has been invaluable in our earthquake relief efforts.  CURE has provided world renowned experts in reconstructive surgery to serve the needs of earthquake victims.  We have developed a reputation in the country of Haiti as a tertiary referral center for a variety of complex orthopedic cases.  CURE's Haiti Medical Director Dr. Scott Nelson is also a Loma Linda University School of Medicine clinical faculty and alum.

CURE has had an orthopedic program in Haiti for a number of years prior to January's earthquake.  The existence of this program pre-quake benefited us greatly by providing in-country knowledge, experience, and resources.  CURE has provided invaluable logistical and supply resources such as:
  • In-country logistics coordinator (Mr. Phil Hudson)
  • Air and ground transportation
  • Shelving units
  • Orthopedic surgical equipment
  • Surgical nursing staff from their Dominican hospital
  • Multiple international volunteer teams
  • Volunteer coordination (Erin, Heather, Robbie)

L - R Phil Hudson, Dr. Nelson, Loubins Labiche

THANK YOU CURE INTERNATIONAL for all of your help here at the Hopital Adventiste!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Maranatha here at the Hopital

Maranatha International is here with us at the hospital providing assistance in a couple of different ways.  Back in early February Maranatha contacted LLU about the possibility of sending in some volunteers to provide boots on the ground assistance with our work at the hospital.  On February 19th six Maranatha volunteers arrived at the hospital for a full six week stay to serve in anyway we needed them to.  These six people have been the force behind the amazing transformation of our central supply from the piles of boxes and bags to the well organized HAH Depot Central.



 L - R Marcello Martinez, Bob Chase, Ashleigh Cohen, Dan Patchin, 
Myrlene Honore (not pictured Marilyn Patchin)

In addition to their work in the Depot Central, each of these volunteers has contributed in his or her own special way around the hospital.  Ashleigh has served as our base camp manager and also doubles as a social worker helping to find orphans homes and debriefing volunteers on their departure dates.  Myrlene has filled many gaps due to her Haitian background and language skills.  Bob has used his carpentry skills to build a number of custom shelves in various rooms around the hospital.  Marcello has taken on the responsibility for maintaining the oxygen supply in all departments of the hospital managing 16 D and E size bottles and 20 large M tanks.  And Dan has served as the Supply Unit Leader for the operations committee.

1 Day Church Structures
Maranatha has also sent in a team to build us 5 of their 1 Day Church Structures to be used anyway we see fit.  The first of these has just been completed and is planned to be volunteer housing.  Structures number 2 and 3 will be done shortly and will be used as volunteer housing and out patient pediatrics.  4 and 5 will go up next week and will provide shelter for urgent care/triage and an ER expansion.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Donor's Dollar

By Dr. Nelson
Disaster relief is typically one of the most inefficient uses of the donor’s dollar. Think about it. Premiums are paid to purchase last minute items, overnight deliveries are made, volunteers are buying last minute air tickets, and extra funds are used for security and support of volunteers in a situation where there is no infrastructure. Due to lack of communication, urgency, and constantly changing needs, heaps of materials arrive that are not always needed. We experienced all of this. (BTW the breast implants and total knee replacement parts that were sent down were not needed at any point during the disaster relief) When the relief efforts are over many of the expensive pieces of donated equipment sit idle, deteriorate or are scavenged. This is not to be critical, many of these factors are uncontrollable and the job has got to be done. It is just the nature of the situation.

At the Hopital Adventiste we are doing a lot more than just disaster relief and because of this, your donations will have much more than just a transient effect. For a short period of time we were buried under the heaps of stuff that was generously provided. But, thanks to Dan and Marilyn Patchin from Portland, OR as well as many other Haitian and American volunteers it is now well organized and we are working efficiently with the needed supplies to offer a top quality level of care to those we serve. The donor’s dollar is also multiplying as we take advantage of synergistic collaborations with other organizations who are interested in our vision for a long term program with the highest of standards. We were very fortunate to receive an autoclave from Hope Force International as well as a portable digital x-ray machine from Americares (see photos).

We thank these organizations for their generosity as well as each and every one of our donors who have generously given. Some of the ongoing weekly expenses that we are currently supporting are:
  • Diesel $3000 for electricity
  • Oxygen $600
  • Transport of equipment and supplies $500
  • X-ray film and envelopes $750
  • Housekeeping, maintenance, & repair supplies $1000
  • Lab supplies $500
One time capital expenses include:
  • Water main $4000
  • Translator honorarium (30 people x 6 weeks) $2700
  • Shelving $5000
  • Generator parts $1000
  • Repair of perimeter wall $5000
In addition, payroll is about $42,000USD per month. All our services are currently offered for free. Without an income source this is not easy to come by, but we must pay our employees as they re integrate back into the workforce.
We want to again thank all of you who have contributed. The challenges ahead are great. But with God’s guidance and power we continue to give our all and not get discouraged.

Monday, March 8, 2010

We're making progress

Welcome to the Hopital

Greetings on a beautiful bright and sunny morning here in Haiti.  After a quiet weekend of overcast skies, fog, and rain, Monday morning has brought us a cloudless sky and beautiful sunshine.  While we continue to face many challenges around the hospital, significant progress is being made and I would like to highlight a few of those areas with some pics.

Patients waiting in the main hallway on a not so mad Monday

 Depot Central d'Haiti

Pharmacy stock room

 Tent distribution for discharged patients

Thank you all for your prayers and support.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The C-Arm arrives

Post Authored by Dr. Nelson

It was an emotional moment when our OEC 9600 C-arm arrived today at the Hopital Adventist d'Haiti. It was on the night of Jan 14 just after my arrival in Port au Prince, less than 48 h after the earthquake that I sent Dr. Jim Matiko a brief message that he should start looking for a C-arm and get it down here as quickly as possible. For those of you who do not know - this is a machine that can give us instantaneous radiographic images. Since their inception in the 1970's they have revolutionized orthopaedic surgery. Seeing the magnitude of the orthopaedic problems, and knowing the time involved in making a transaction of this nature I knew it would be important to initiate the process ASAP. Now less than 7 weeks after the 7.0 we will be able to greatly expand our surgical spectrum. We have a 75 year old man named Albert who was admitted 2 days ago with an intertrochanteric hip fracture who will be the first beneficiary of this new technology tomorrow morning. Even before the arrival of this machine we have been able to do procedures available at few other hospitals in Port au Prince. Because of our long history, our current operations and stability as well as our long term vision we are increasingly becoming a center for advanced orthopaedic procedures. Thanks to the Arrowhead Orthopaedic Group and other donors we have now taken a major step towards fulfilling our vision as a center of excellence.

It was quite a task unloading this monolith. The first image taken was a thumbs up of my right hand. The Haitians were amazed by the technology and one said "where ever the Americans are people will live". We also have a beautiful printer to print the images which the patients keep with their medical record for follow up care.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Sabbath Days Rest

Scott and I decided to take our first Sabbath off here in Haiti.  It seemed that after 6 weeks largely stuck int the hospital, a road trip was in order, so we headed to Jacmel on the southern coast of the island.  Jacmel is a quaint little village by the sea with lots of French influence.  While there is some earthquake damage in Jacmel it is not nearly as widespread as it is here around Port-au-Prince.  The journey there took us up and over some very deforested yet picturesque mountains and through a number of little towns.  Below are some of the sights from our trip.

An Adventist Church by the road in Leogane

Leaving the Port-au-Prince basin

Landslide that completely covered the main road

 The French influence

The U.S. influence

Jacmel wharf with relief teams in place

Total Destruction

fires burn everywhere in Haiti

We stopped at the Hotel Cyvadier Plage for lunch

The Chief

The I.C.

East of Jacmel, looking towards the D.R.