Archive for January, 2010

By Jennifer Browning

PORT-AU-PRINCE—-Three patients being treated at the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute hospital in Haiti have been transferred to the United States for life-saving care. One more patient is awaiting transport.

While the U.S. has not approved government funded evacuations, the door has opened for those patients who had their travel previously arranged along with their travel and care privately funded. Patients being transported to the U.S. must be accompanied by a physician and a family member. Medical staff on the ground must have the tail number of the aircraft arriving in Haiti, so that the State Department has documentation of the flight and its passengers.

Project Medishare/UM Global Institute Hospital Coordinator and Administrator Liz Greig said the medical staff working with Haitian earthquake victims here in Haiti are please that individual charities in the U.S. are able to assist in getting these critical care patients to a facility that can give them the care they desperately need.

“The practical limitations regarding sending patients through military means and through the Emergency Medical System in the U.S. is well understood,” Greig said. “We are incredibly pleased to be able to take advantage of charitable institutions in the U.S. who are providing life-saving care. We are glad to coordinate between government agencies who are helping us make this happen.”

But Greig also said that more needs to be done for the critical patients remaining on the ground who are still in need of life-saving care that currently can’t be provided here.

“With the urgency of the cases we are dealing with, moving in a timely fashion was greatly appreciated, but the nature of the evacuations on a per case basis are a less than judicious use of resources,” Greig said. “I am sure as the process evolves we’ll be able to do it with greater efficiency.”

Today three patients were taken to Philadelphia. One was a 5-year-old girl with tetanus, another was an 18-month-old burn patient, and the third was a 14-month-old child who suffered from pneumonia.

A 7-year-old boy who had brain surgery last evening is currently waiting to be evacuated to Miami Children’s Hospital.

Transferred to the USS Comfort today were two adults. One is suffering from  an incomplete spinal injury.

An  estimated 100 critical care patients still wait to be sent to the U.S. for life-saving care.

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Retired NBA star Alonzo Mourning and Project Medishare Co-Founder Dr. Barth Green speaks to NBC Nightly News about the United States suspending its medical evacuations of critically injured Haitian earthquake victims. Currently there is a dispute over who will pay for care.Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

Until a dispute is settled over who will pay for care, medical evacuations of critically injured Haitian earthquake victims have halted.

After the earthquake military flights carried patients with spinal cord injuries, burns and other serious wounds, but as of Wednesday, those flights ended after Florida’s Gov. Charlie Crist  formally asked the federal government to assist with some of the cost of the care.

Project Medishare’s Co-Founder Dr. Barth Green told reporters today that the suspension could be catastrophic for patients. Dr. Green returned to the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute Hospital today where there are 10 patients on the critical care list that needs to be evacuated to the U.S. for life-saving care.

Haitian President René Preval speaks with General Wesley Clark about current emergency plans to assist Haitian earthquake vicitms. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

Among those joining Dr. Green today were former Miami Heat Alonzo Mourning, General Wesley Clark, members of InnoVida, USAID representatives, and an engineer.

Mourning and Dr. Green gave a tour of the hospital, and Mourning checked up on a few patients he had seen from his last trip over a week ago. After touring the hospital, the group drove through the city of Port-au-Prince to survey the damage left behind after the 7.0 earthquake over two weeks ago.

In the afternoon, President René Preval and his wife Haitian First Lady Elisabeth Debrosse Delatour arrived to meet with the group. President Preval and Dr. Green spoke at a press conference and addressed questions from the media regarding the estimated 1 million homeless in Haiti. USAID representatives said they are planning to select a location and bring in tents for temporary housing to get those who are homeless through the upcoming rainy season.

Preval praised Project Medishare/UM Global Institute for their efforts here and in the Central Plateau where many earthquake victims have fled. He addressed the fact that now those rural areas are more populated, there are more people looking for work.  Preval said he wants to work toward promoting agriculture in Haiti, so that those farmers in the rural areas can sell their crops and become entrepreneurs, selling their crops in the markets and stimulating the economy.

Read more about the halt in airlifts for Haitian earthquake victims in the New York Times here.

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By Jennifer Browning

Seven days ago, Carly, Carlins, and Carlene were born under a simple tent in a camp housing earthquake victims. The triplets arrived at the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute’s hospital this afternoon.

The mother was worried about Carlene who seemed to be having breathing problems, but after observation the little one seemed to be fine. Doctors notice Carly seemed a little dehydrated so they decided to give her fluids intravenously.

Since doctors couldn’t determine whether the mother had any prenatal care during her pregnancy, they will monitor the children closely.

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Project Medishare volunteer and Occupational Therapist, Delia Rivero, works with a translator to tell Sifila Joseph how often she must see a doctor to change the dressing on her bandages. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

Bandages cover the head wound caused by falling concrete during the earthquake, and Sifila Joseph’s arm is set in a splint. Her brother, Jean Wiley, watches as doctors give his sister one last checkup before deciding whether she can go home. They determine that as long as her brother promises to make sure her bandages are changed regularly, Safila may go home.

Today, home is a different place than it was two weeks ago. Sifila’s house now represents a pile of rocks, rubble–broken concrete. But she is luckier than many of the patients who come to the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute Hospital, she can go home to her brother’s house and live with his family.

While Sifila’s brother lives near her old neighborhood, many earthquake victims are moving out of the city to reside with families whose homes weren’t damaged.

Today Salvation Army donated 50 Coleman tents to the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute hospital to provide shelter for those who lost their home in the quake.

If you would like to support Project Medishare/UM Global Institute in our medical relief efforts, click here.

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By Jennifer Browning

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti–The Associated Press reported today that Haiti’s earthquake victims face a new threat of diseases like tetanus and measles.

Infectious disease physician, Dr. Gordon Dickinson tends to a little girl who was brought to the triage unit and diagnosed with tetanus. Tetanus is rarely, if ever seen in the United States because it is a routine vaccination. Here in Haiti, tetanus as well as other diseases are becoming an unwelcomed reality. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

A 5-year-old girl arrived at Project Medishare/UM Global Institute’s hospital today diagnosed with tetanus.

She had been treated at another location for abrasions to her hips and legs caused by the 7.0 earthquake over two weeks ago. Doctors tending to her were in shock because they had never seen a tetanus case before. In the United States, tetanus vaccines are readily available so the risk of getting the disease is almost non-existent.

Here in Haiti while, various organizations like Project Medishare have programs to vaccinate and track a child’s health, many children still miss out on life-saving vaccines.

These are the new realities Project Medishare/UM Global Institute doctors face as the weeks pass after January 12 earthquake. Our medical support here is ongoing and we need funding. Please support our medical relief efforts by clicking here to make a donation.

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Children from Grace Episcopal Day School in Orange Park, Fla. created artwork for the earthquake victims being treated at Project Medishare/UM Global Institute’s hospital. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

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Francois and her mother watch as Lori Carpenter creates a posterior splint. The splint is helpful because, unlike a cast, it allows doctors to routinely check the open wound on the 10-year-old's foot. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti–As the dust still settles around Port-au-Prince from the 7.0 earthquake that rumbled the city more than two weeks ago, JoAnne Pierre brings her 10-year-old daughter, Francois, to the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute hospital for an injury to her foot and lower leg.

Francois lives in Cité Soliel with her mother and father. When the earthquake hit, a boulder fell on her foot.

The young girl had been treated at another medical camp, but that camp is no longer there. This is what the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute team is seeing more of…..transferred patients from other medical camps who have closed their doors and gone home.

With little information, doctors checked her swollen foot, which revealed an open wound. After cleaning the wound, and dressing it with bandages. Francois’ mother told the doctors that her child could not put pressure on her foot, so the doctors working triage, sent the child to get an x-ray in hopes of ruling out a fracture or a break.

With the x-ray revealing a slight break at the top of Francois’ foot, she was then taken to orthopedic technician, Lori Carpenter. Carpenter who is volunteering from Lima, Ohio, helped stabilize the child’s leg with a posterior splint which allows doctors to routinely check the open wound on her leg.

A week ago, doctors would not have been able to perform an x-ray of Francois’s foot, but thanks to Carestream Health and AutoGov, who donated the machine, such technology is possible in this makeshift hospital at the Port-au-Prince airport.

Because medical volunteer teams in the area are beginning to shut down and go home, Project Medishare/UM Global Institute will continue to see transfer patients arrive at the hospital.  Along with the patients already being treated at the tented facility, many of these transfer patients will continue to need long-term care. Project Medishare/UM Global Institute will be here when everyone else has gone home and will need funding to support our relief efforts here in Port-au-Prince.

Click here to donate to Project Medishare/UM Global Institute to help us continue doing the good work on the ground.

Project Medishare/UM Global Institute now offers a way for donors to give monthly. Click here to set up your monthly giving to help medical relief efforts.

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By Jennifer Browning

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti–Since January 12, life hasn’t been easy for Carlix Benley Chadrack. At one and half years old, he has lost his parents and suffers from injuries to his hands.

Madame Robert (to Carlix’s right) found Carlix and took him into her home. Even though she has four other children at home, Madame Robert said she said she couldn’t leave him all  alone. That’s probably why he smiles today.

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By Jennifer Browning

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Physical therapist, Jana Koch reaches her arms out towards her patient offering to help her patient stand up.

“They need to be mobilized as soon as possible, ” Koch said, “in order to help them get back on their feet again.”

Nicholas, a translator with Project Medishare/Global Institute helps Jana Koch assist her patient in using a walker. Physical therapy is part of the care necessary for earthquake victims to recovery from their injuries. Photo by Jennifer Browning

Koch is a physical therapist out of Louisville, Ky. She is here to help Project Medishare/UM Global Institute patients recover. Getting her patients to walk around not only helps keep muscles functioning properly, but also keeps them from getting other illnesses like pneumonia.

Those who are suffering from fractures or broken bones, do their therapy with the assistance of crutches, while others get assistance from therapists and support staff  and the use of a walker.

“A lot of the people here can’t put their weight on their leg, so we teach them how to walk without putting pressure on their injury,” Koch said. “It’ s not good for their joints or muscles to just lay in bed.”

Koch came down with a group of doctors looking to volunteer. They visited several clinics in the area, but found the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute hospital was more organized. She said her team arrived with three orthopedic surgeons. They checked in and were approved with credentials almost immediately. Ten minutes later they were at their positions, tending to earthquake victims.

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Stefanie Fletcher encourages 22-year-old Christine through one of her many contractions during labor. The doctors and nurses at this makeshift hospital, treat their patients as if they have known and loved them for decades. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

By Jennifer Browning

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti–Christine, 22, was brought into the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute’s hospital. She had been receiving care at another medical facility after suffering a small seizure. On top of the seizure, she had very low blood-pressure and she was 9 months pregnant.

She was transferred to the Project Medishare/UM Global Institute’s medical facility in hopes to receive better care, however hours after arriving, her blood pressure returned to normal and there were no signs of seizures.

Then her water broke.

Doctors monitored her throughout the evening, and by 11 a.m. her contractions were coming closer together. Her obstetrics team, comprised of doctors who have all recently met one another, worked together to help Christine deliver her baby.

During each painful contraction, Stefanie Fletcher, a nurse from Los Angeles, helped Christine focus on her breathing.

“Momma, momma look at me,” Fletcher told her. Christine nodded her head reached for Fletcher’s face and deep into her eyes……a bond.

As the contraction faded, Fletcher pulled out a bag of dried lavender for Christine to smell. The scent wafted across the delivery area calming not only Christine, but those of us surrounding  her.

In the form of a baby boy, a bit of hope is born in a city currently filled with rubble. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

With each contraction, Dr. Mike Sheehan and Fletcher, advocated Christine to push. The baby was close.

Around 2 p.m. Christine gave a final push…and birth to her healthy baby boy. She named him David–after Fletcher’s son.

Around so much tragedy, suffering there is still life here being born in the rubble filled Port-au-Prince.

Life and a tiny bundle of hope.

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