Archive for August, 2010

By Jennifer Browning

Magdala, 22, hoists herself onto the examining table so that Project Medishare’s certified prosthetic orthotist (CPO) Davor Krchelich can scan her leg where her new prosthetic limb will be placed. She watches quietly as the laser scans across her knee tissue and curiously stares at the computer screen which begins to paint a picture of the socket that will need to be built for her new prosthetic.

Certified Prosthetic Orthotist Davor Krchelich uses the Biosculptor to scan Magdala's leg. Once the scan is completed, she will return to Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare to get fitted for her prosthetic leg. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

In the small prosthetic lab at the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare (HBMPM), Davor uses the BioSculptor to scan the limb to determine how the socket for Magdala’s prosthetic leg should be constructed. Davor said it is fantastic technology to have here in Haiti.

“The Biosculptor is helping us actually realize the scans from here. We are taking measures instead of using plaster, wrapping with plastic,” he said.

The wand Davor uses has two cameras that gather images as the laser beam passes over the patient’s tissue and what those cameras see is transmitted onto a screen. The image file is saved, transmitted over the internet to a machine in Florida that can read the file at the prosthetic plant where the socket for the prosthetic leg will be made.

“Later on, virtually, we are able to use the information to make the prosthetic socket more feasible for the individual patient,” he said. “The socket is the most important part of the prosthetic limb. It is the socket that can help make a person walk or just stand.”

Once Magdala has been scanned, and the file is sent to the US it takes about two weeks for the socket to be sent to HBMPM where she will get measured and fitted for their new limb. From there it is all about physical therapy, and learning how to use her new leg.

Davor looks up to watch Marianna, 15, is getting the assistance of Cedieu Fortilus and Wilfred Messine who are guiding her through exercises as she begins to get comfortable with her new leg. Both Fortilus and Messine have been hired by Project Medishare and are training to be prosthetic technicians.

While the technology being used at HBMPM is important in getting the prosthetic right for the patient, Davor and his team feel their encouragement for their patients is equally as important. With this in mind they have worked very hard to create a safe environment for their patients so their are no distractions when it comes to teaching them to walk.

“It’s very personal,” he said, “when you are learning how to use the prosthetic. That’s why we try to create an environment to give them a free feeling. This way they start off with more confidence, they are more relaxed and more willing to achieve something.“


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By Jennifer Browning

Project Medishare’s future is mapped out in the most recent issue of the University of Miami’s Medicine. The magazine’s special edition focuses on how the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine and its partnering organizations like Project Medishare and the UM Global Institute rushed to the aid of Haiti’s earthquake victims.

Fostering a Healthy Future” takes a look at Project Medishare’s various programs between Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince and Haiti’s Central Plateau where the community health and development program has been operating for over 10 years.Before the earthquake, Project Medishare was getting ready to celebrate the completion of two major projects, the Akamil production facility and a new maternal health center. The earthquake delayed the opening for both projects, however Project Medishare is determined to continue efforts to improve healthcare in rural Haiti through these programs as well as through the critical care and rehabilitation hospital in Port-au-Prince.

Click here to read the full article in Medicine, or click here to browse through the entire 2010 Summer Edition.

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By Jennifer Browning

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson vowed, during a visit to the Miami’s Ryder Trauma Center last week, to continue his efforts to secure funds for the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, a critical care and rehabilitation hospital, operated by  Project Medishare and the Global Institute in Port-au-Prince.

Originally the critical care and rehabilitation hospital was located in four tents at the edge of the airport for five months following the January earthquake. The hospital joined forces with to an existing community hospital in June and continues to serve as a vital critical care and rehabilitation hospital as well as a training center for local physicians, nurses and allied health professionals eager to fill the large gaps in Haiti’s shattered health care system.

Dr. Barth Green, co-founder and president of Project Medishare said the organization is counting on a $17.7 million federal grant to operate the hospital over the next 18 months and help Haiti build a sustainable health care system. Nelson wrote a letter urging the U.S. State Department to direct a portion of the Haiti relief funding in the 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act to the hospital.

Days after the January 12 earthquake, the senator praised Americans for their quick generosity to the earthquake relief effort. The senator singled out UM’s Miller School of Medicine for having the first medical team on the ground in Haiti which was led by Dr. Green.The team began treating the critically wounded within five minutes of landing at the devastated Port-au-Prince airport  twelve hours after quake.

Project Medishare’s programs currently rely heavily on independent donations. If you would like to make a donation to help us continue our important work through projects like those at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, Haiti’s ONLY critical care hospital, please click here to make an online donation today.

Source: University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.

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By Jennifer Browning

Last night Project Medishare co-founder and president, Dr. Barth Green, received the Florida Association of Nonprofit Organization’s (FANO) Lawton’s Heart Humanitarian Award for his lifetime devotion to humanitarian causes.

The award was presented by the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine’s Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt during the opening reception of the organization’s annual conference.

Project Medishare's co-founder and president, Dr. Barth Green, accepts FANO's Lawton's Heart Humanitarian Award from Bud Chiles, son of the late Governor Lawton Chiles for whom the humanitarian award is named.

“On that fateful day in Haiti, January 12, 2010, Project Medishare was uniquely poised to assume a position of leadership when the 7.0 earthquake struck and devastated the country. Within 18 hours, Dr. Green, leading a team of trauma doctors, was on the ground at the airport in Port-au-Prince, offering emergency medical relief to hundreds of severely injured Haitians,” Dean Goldschmidt told FANO conference attendees. “According to the March 11, 2010 New England Journal of Medicine, four hours after their arrival the five person team of medial relief workers started working on ‘225 severely injured Haitians housed in two storage tents at the United Nations compound.’ Today, six months after the earthquake, Project Medishare and the Haitian Ministry of Health are coordinating long term medical care in Haiti.”

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Green talked about how proud he was about the work Project Medishare and the University of Miami were doing to help those in Haiti.

“We are proud now that the University of Miami and Project Medishare and all the people that support it are putting legs and arms on kids and adults every day,” Dr. Green told conference attendees. “We are joining hands with partners in this country who are helping us show the Haitian people that they haven’t been forgotten.”

The Lawton’s Heart Humanitarian Award was named after its first recipient, Governor Lawton Chiles, who posthumously received the first Humanitarian Award in 1999. Governor Chiles’ widow, Mrs. Rhea Chiles, along with their daughter Rhea, her husband Keith Powers and Chiles’ son Ed and wife, Anne. The governor was known for his leadership during the relief effort for after Hurricane Andrew devastated South Dade.

Dr. Green remembers working with Governor Chiles during those trying times.

“Lawton Chiles  was a friend of mine when I was a young doctor running around the state in helicopters rescuing patients,” Dr. Green said. “He funded all of the wonderful programs that have saved so many thousands of lives. He was an extraordinary human being.”

The late Florida governor’s son, Bud Chiles, was present to hand Dr. Green the humanitarian award.

Dr. Green also encouraged FANO conference attendees to seek out opportunities to help others.

“We all have opportunities in our lives to do something every day for someone else,” he said. “You’ll never make a mistake giving because you’ll get back so much more.”

Dr. Green is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery and Professor of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Miami School of Medicine and Chief of the Neurosurgical Services at Jackson Memorial Hospital and Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. He is also co-founder and President of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Dr. Green also co-founded the University of Miami Global Institute for Community Health and Development, a university-wide program focused on improving healthcare and advancing community development in our hemisphere.

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By Jennifer Browning

While Haiti’s only critical and trauma care facility, Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, is now operating with a predominantly Haitian staff, we are still accommodating up to 43 volunteers each week.

Starting in October, volunteers are required to pay a $300 tax-deductible fee to help offset the costs of our operation. This fee will help offset the cost of Project Medishare’s  operation and enable a continuation of the life-saving work at happening at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, which is currently Haiti’s only critical care and trauma hospital.

As many of the news cameras have turned away to cover other areas of the globe, we are receiving fewer donations to cover the operating cost of our critical care and trauma hospital in Port-au-Prince. Project Medishare relies primarily on individual donors to keep our programs operating in Haiti. As we move from relief to recovery, we are asking our Bernard Mevs volunteers to assist with offsetting the cost of their in country expenses while volunteering with us in Haiti. The $300 fee is a mere fraction of the cost it takes to send volunteers to our hospital each week.

Project Medishare has received an outpouring of support and thousands of volunteers have signed up to help. The primary focus is bringing volunteers with a medical background and requiring at least an eight (8) day commitment and based on the needs coming from the hospital in Haiti.

Due to the lack of space at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, we can’t take medical students or staff personnel (non-medical) until further notice.

As part of the partnership with Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare and their local staff, Project Medishare volunteers not only assist with providing healthcare, but also work to train in the various specialties including prenatal and neonatal intensive care (PICU/NICU), spinal cord rehabilitation, nursing, family medicine, general and specialty surgeries, physical therapy, prosthetics, and pharmacy.

Interested volunteers can CLICK HERE to sign up and make sure to fill out the entire form.

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By Jennifer Browning

Kim Barnard volunteered at Hospital Bernard Mevs in June, since then she has joined fellow volunteers in raising money to assist Project Medishare in raising funds to keep the only critical care hospital in Haiti open for business.

Musician friends of hers from Kickstart, a Cincinnati band, were inspired by Barnard’s story about volunteering in Haiti and wrote the song  Just One Girl.

“Kim was my inspiration,” Kickstart’s acoustic guitar player Mike Bachelier said. “She is someone who believes that you should help others no matter how hard it might be. I thought it was quite admirable that she would want to go to Haiti, not knowing what she might face. She also has rekindled my belief that ‘just one girl can really go change the world.'”
Kickstart, recently recorded the song and it is now available on iTunes.  To download your copy, go to the iTunes store and under music search for Just One Girl or you can download it here.

All the proceeds the band receives from download purchases of Just One Girl will be donated to Project Medishare through Barnard’s online fundraising team “I Left My Heart In Haiti.”

While Bachelier realizes Kickstart’s efforts are small, he hopes that it will encourage others to continue to do more to help Project Medishare keep Haiti’s only critical care and trauma hospital open.

“The fact that Project Medishare is running low on funds and the knowledge that they are truly helping Haiti were also motivating factors,” he said. “I believe that too many of us, though we may be well intentioned, go through life living in our little world, never really trying to help anyone but those we are closest to. If this small thing that we are doing can truely change a little part of the world, the feeling that it will bring us is worth any sacrifice we are making.”

If you would like to give more than the cost of downloading the Kickstart single, Barnard along with two members of her fundraising team invite you to donate here. The team has already raised over $1100 and is working to do more.

Wanna do your own thing? Start your own fundraising team by going here to use the Blackbaud fundraising tools to send emails out to your own friends and family to help you raise money to help Project Medishare continue to save lives in Haiti.

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By Jennifer Browning

On May 22, the City of Miami Beach hosted Rock for Haiti which raised money to outfit and repair two surplus emergency medical vehicles which the Miami Beach Mayor and Commission donated to Bernard Mevs Project Medishare Hospital in Port-au-Prince.

The ambulances are now undergoing some maintenance before being shipped to Bernard Mevs Project Medishare Hospital in Port-au-Prince.

Thank you City of Miami Beach!

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By Jennifer Browning

Project Medishare co-founder and president, Dr. Barth A. Green, will receive the Lawton’s Heart Humanitarian Award for his lifetime devotion to humanitarian causes from the Florida Association of Nonprofit Organizations (FANO). The award will be presented by Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt during the opening reception of the organization’s annual conference which begins this Wednesday, August 18.

The reception will be from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, 1881 S.E. 17th Street Causeway, Fort Lauderdale. The price for the reception is $20. The cost for the reception and two-day conference, “A Better Path: Bold Steps to Stronger Resources,” is $95.

FANO is a 20-year-old organization serving Florida nonprofits. The award program was initiated in 1992 to bring public recognition to individuals who dedicate their lives to humanitarian work. In 1999 the name of the award was changed to the Lawton’s Heart Humanitarian Award in honor of the late Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, whose entire career exemplified dedication to community service.

For more information on attending the award ceremony for Dr. Green, please call 305-557-1764 or visit www.fano.org.

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By Dr. Tisha Titus*

We arrived in Haiti six months to the day after the 2010 earthquake, not quite knowing what to expect the conditions in Port-au-Prince to be. Would we be safe in transit? Would the roads taking us out of the city be blocked or damaged? Were the conditions really what had been shown on the news?

Flights into the country were difficult for us, in part due to a massive influx of relief workers and other organizations, but also in part from damage to part of the airport that was in the process of being repaired.
As we walked the several blocks to the temporary parking, the lines for outbound flights were out the door and down the street. As we winded through the city, there were some small areas of damage, but massive piles of rubble were notably absent. As we continued, most of what I saw seemed striking similar to what I had seen before the earthquake – in progress construction, demolition, renovation and the occasional unfinished project. Then came the tent cities.

As we neared the outskirts of the city, the sea of white tents came into view. Definitely suboptimal living conditions, but tolerable given the circumstances and lack of other options. As we passed through, there were UN guards at the entrance to one area with a line of port-a-potties seen in the background. A few scattered faces walked through the maze of tents, mostly women and children tending to daily chores that provide some semblance of normalcy as they work to rebuild their lives. In the few seconds it took to pass the tent city, we could all see the aftermath of the quake – not so much rubble, but shattered lives of the many who had lost nearly everything.

As we talked about what we saw and made comparisons from past trips, we all settled into our seats, gearing up for the ride to the Central Plateau. Those of us, who had come previously, already knew the road “experience.” We had told the new folks in great detail about the bumpy roller coaster ride up and over the mountain. Fast moving trucks close the edge of the cliff, abrupt darting to miss potholes the size of small cars, and intermittent games of highway chicken – all part and parcel for the ride once the pavement ends.

We continued to brief the new folks on what to expect during the daily clinics and then I noticed something. I recalled that last year a short section of the road had been paved, complete with drainage and cliff barriers, but I did not recall any intersections on that stretch of road, and we had just driven through one. I started to pay better attention to the construction and also noticed what appeared to be concrete power poles lining the road. There were also diversion culverts being put in to prevent the usual road wash-out during the rainy season.

I was amazed. The drive that took us over four hours last year was only about two and a half hours this year, with an overwhelming majority of the road paved, tarred or graded and a least two or more lanes wide. There were trucks, backhoes, packers and graders for the actual road construction, but the intricate details of the roadside drains and much of the culvert work appeared to be done without the benefit of machinery. The newly transformed road and soon-to-be power poles took us right into Thomonde, where there were piles of pavers waiting to be put down for the roads there. We started each clinic trip on solid pavement, which significantly reduced our travel time…except for the day our lead truck settled into foot-deep mud. It was also our safety when the rains shut down our clinic early and we scurried like mad to get in the trucks and get out – the pavement let us know that we were on solid ground and would make it back to Thomonde without the risk of getting stuck.

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