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Archive for March, 2008

By Arjun Parasher

The morning came earlier than expected for most of us. But after breakfast and a round of Haitian coffee, we were all eager to arrive at the mobile clinic site and finally see the Haiti that awaited us.

After setting up our respective stations, the day began with a chaotic start: in a new surrounding with limited, if any, understanding of the language, a line of pediatric patients awaited us in triage.  After finally settling in to the routine, the students and physicians provided care in a remarkably efficient manner.  From diagnosing tuberculosis and malaria to treating glaucoma, the physicians with the help of excellent and patient translators were able to provide high quality care to over 200 Haitians secluded away from the normal mechanism of care.

We returned to Thomonde to visit the recently constructed hospital, which truly is an incredible institution of human service.  Soon after we arrived at the Project Medishare, I spotted a few children playing soccer with a half-deflated ball just outside the gates.  After watching them for a few moments, I asked to join and attempted to keep up with 5 to 10 year old kids.  After finding out how skillful these kids were the hard way in front of the newly drawn crowd of spectators, I ran back for the remnants of dinner.

We had a long, productive discussion about ways to improve our work in the days to come.  After deciding to increase our coverage of women’s health and redesigning our triage organization, we began the nightly task of packing drugs.  Finishing our task, we sat around the pavilion, relaxing with our colleagues.

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By Paru Mehta

Today we arrived in Haiti.  As we flew into the Port Au Prince airport, there was a band playing traditional Haitian music.  It was a nice way to be introduced into the Haitian culture.  The airport was very clean, organized, and most importantly it was air-conditioned.  The carried to Thomonde was long.  It began on a deceivingly smooth road, but after about an hour, we saw some very rocky and bumpy roads.  After a few stops, we landed in Thomonde.  The Medishare headquarters are great.  They accommodate us very well.  Unfortunately, when we came, it began to pour, so we were bombarded with bugs that felt like they were the size of hummingbirds while Dr. Fournier gave us some background information on Medishare.  We packed many medicines and then we just relaxed, chatted and read books.  I am very excited about the week ahead of us.

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By Jennifer Browning

img_0497.jpgMost of our posts here talk about the people Project Medishare and its volunteers help, but through showing you the lives and the needs of the Haitian people, rarely do we delve into the beautiful rich culture this tiny country offers.

With Haiti being predominately Catholic, Lent and Easter offer a huge spectacle throughout the land. As I was leaving Port-au-Prince winding down through Petionville, a suburb of the capital, there was a processional of people dressed in white parading through the streets. Later waiting in the airport,  I was able to see the Petionville processional on television which lead the crowd towards a Catholic Church in the neighborhood where there was a reenactment of the Easter story.

While the students from George Washington and Morehouse medical school’s were up in Thomonde a Rara band parading through the streets stopped in front of Project img_0495.jpgMedishare’s office. Former Project Medishare intern, Samira Sami who traveled with the group wrote up a nice account of the experience over on Haiti Innovation’s website. Sami points out how vibrant the celebration is in color, rhythm and song, but more importantly how Haiti’s culture is full of life and strength.

Check out Samira’s post on Haiti Innovation here.

*Photos contributed by Cristina Catlett. Catlett is an Emergency Room physician from George Washington University.

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Waiting to go in for his hernia surgery, Widmayer Nordé draws pictures next to his decorated glove balloon recovery nurse Renaye Mansfield blew up for him.  Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

Port-au-Prince, HAITI–Whether it is minutes or hours, the wait always seems long when waiting for surgery. After getting him dressed for surgery, recovery nurse Renaye Mansfield took a couple of surgical gloves and blew them up for 11-year-old Widmayer Nordé. Widmayer took a pen and drew a face on the makeshift balloons. Widmayer is scheduled for hernia surgery today.

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Keeping the kids occupied critical care recovery nurse Janet Shanley lets the kids play with surgical hats and masks.  Photo by Jennifer Browning.

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Handing over her contact information Project Medishare’s Nurse Liaison Maguy Rochelin is pleased that she can make an appointment for Ambrose Widzar. In accordance with The Smile Train grant the doctors from the University of Miami will return to Port-au-Prince two more times this year to perform cleft surgeries. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

Port-au-Prince, HAITI–While the patients scheduled today will be general surgeries, Project Medishare’s nurse liaison, Maguy Rochelin is scheduling cleft palate patients for another round of surgeries when the doctors return in June.

Motioning her to come closer a little girl hugged Maguy and gave her a kiss on the cheek before she and her mother left the clinic. Ambrose Judhly Widzar, 5, came today to see about her cleft palate being repaired. Three years ago Widzar traveled to from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitian to have her cleft lip repaired. Ambrose’s mother was happy that he daughter would be able to have her surgery closer to home.
But not everyone is fortunate enough to live close to the surgical site in Port-au-Prince, many times more efficient travel is to take a tap-tap but even this modest transportation isn’t affordable to everyone.

Elise St. Pierre came with her parents today to see about repairing her cleft lip. They live in Degan near Carrefour. The family woke up at 1 a.m. to walk to Port-au-Prince to be here this morning after hearing about the surgical program on the radio a few days before. Since general surgeries are already scheduled for today.

Although the St. Pierre family will have to come back when doctors return for the second round of cleft surgeries, the family said they are thankful for The Smile Train who provided the grant which will allow their daughter to have surgery.

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After spending the night in recovery at Santé Bernard Mevs, Lise Marielle is comforted by her father. Lise had her first cleft lip surgery in Cange when she was 9 months old. Yesterday she had her palate repaired by Dr. Sam McDonald who is here with the University of Miami Department of Plastic Surgery. The UM Department of Plastic Surgery was able to perform these surgeries thanks to a grant provided by The Smile Train. Photos by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

Port-au-Prince, HAITI–During this morning’s rounds, Dr. McDonald stopped by the pediatric recovery room to check on the patients from yesterday. On the list was little Lise. Cuddling up comfortably with her father, she was a bit sore from her palette surgery the previous afternoon, but otherwise Lise was doing well.

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During morning consultations a volunteer medical resident from the University of Miami observes Dorine Mesidor’s scar from an electrical burn she received three years ago. Below: Nervous about going into surgery, Dorine was given a mirror to play with while she waits. Photos by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

Port-au-Prince, HAITI–Infants discover their world by sticking things in their mouth, but sometimes this isn’t the best way to learn. Three years ago Dorine Mesidor was playing with an electrical cord that was plugged into an outlet. Curiously, she placed the dsc_0311.jpgcord in her mouth. Unfortunately part of the cord was not protecting all the wiring inside and Dorine suffered an electrical shock which caused a burn on the corner of her mouth. Dorine arrived with her mother yesterday to see the doctors after she had heard about the team working at Bernard Mevs.

After today the University of Miami Department of Plastic Surgery team will have performed 23 cleft palate surgeries. After two cleft lip surgeries this morning, the remainder of the surgeries for today and tomorrow will be general surgeries.

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