Archive for May, 2011

Please join Rachel Belt, volunteer coordinator at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, for a cocktail hour at the Rubin Museum of Art to discuss the program and meet fellow volunteers in the New York Area! Taking place on Friday, June 3rd 2011 from 6pm-9pm, Rubin Museum of Art is located at 150 West 17th Street, New York, New York.

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By Ginger Gorham-Hart

Trying to sum up my time spent in Haiti with Project Medishare is almost impossible. I have made two trips with Project Medishare and just arrived back from my third stint last week.

Ginger Gorham-Hart at the Project Medishare Field Hospital

Ginger Gorham-Hart at the Project Medishare Field Hospital

Working at the Project Medishare tented field hospital after the earthquake was the hardest, most grueling work I have ever done. I spent 14-16 hours a day in the operating room. The Haitian patients would walk for days from their small towns just because a surgeon would be at the field hospital. How could we say no? How could we be too tired? We were there to help and so we did.

I would spend my “free time” in the pediatric tent with a sweet, little Haitian boy named Andre. We read books, Andre would teach my Creole and we would laugh all night. At the end of my stay during my first trip, I went to his cot. Andre looked really sad. I asked him what was wrong. He looked up with his big, brown eyes and asked if I was going to be leaving the next day. I responded with what every volunteer says: “yes I am leaving but of course I will be back.” Tears began to appear in his eyes, he grabbed my hand and said “but I love you and will miss you too much.” I have never felt so much emotion at one time as I did at that moment.

I knew after my first trip that I would volunteer again to go back to help in Haiti. I returned to Haiti with Project Medishare, this time to Hospital Bernard Mevs. I was reunited with Andre.

I came to Haiti to be able to help the people after the devastation they faced from the earthquake. However, I can honestly say they have helped me more than I will ever be able to help them. I look forward to returning again to continue My Project Medishare experience.

Ginger Gorham-Hart with patients in the waiting room at the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

Ginger Gorham-Hart with patients in the waiting room at the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

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As you may recall from a past post, Yéle Haiti generously donated a grant to Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc. in support of the purchase of a 16-slice CT Scanner with its own trailer and generator power source this past July. The unit arrived on April 1st, 2011 at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. We were honored to have Haitian President Michel Martelly, First Lady Sophia Martelly, Wyclef Jean and many more attend the exciting ribbon cutting ceremony this past Friday, May 20, 2011.

Jon Voltaire, Dr. Bill Crenshaw, Dr. Gary Denton and Dean Lee

Jon Voltaire, Dr. Bill Crenshaw, Dr. Gary Denton & Dean Lee in front of the CT Scanner's trailer

The CT scanner will help treat the five major preventable causes of death in Haiti, which are: trauma, heart attack, stroke, maternal emergencies and burns. The scanner is connected to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami and this will assist in providing near instantaneous reading of the scans. This desperately needed technology will be integrated into Project Medishare’s training and education program for Haitian healthcare workers. The Yéle Haiti donated CT Scanner at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare is the only 16-slice scanner available publicly in all of Haiti.

CT Scanner

CT Scanner

Receiving this CT Scanner and housing it at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare has many benefits. The staff will be able to treat patients much faster as there will no longer be a need to transfer anyone for scans. If a patient has had an aneurysm, the CT Scanner will show the size of it and if it is operable. Dr. Bill Crenshaw and Dean Lee donated IV Contrast that will show vessels during the scans. With IV contrast, the hospital will be able to assess the aorta and pulmonary arteries. Using IV contrast in patients being scanned will allow the hospital to get oncology imaging as well as imaging of patients with trauma and acute abdominal pain.

President Michel Martelly cutting ribbon at CT Scanner dedication ceremony

President Michel Martelly (center) cutting the ribbon at the CT Scanner, donated by Wyclef's Yéle Haiti, dedication ceremoy at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

The day of the CT Scanner ribbon cutting ceremony was an exceptionally exciting Friday at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. In the morning, a tour of the hospital was given to President Michel Martelly, First Lady Sophia Martelly and Wyclef Jean. During the tour of the premises, they took time to greet and speak to patients and met with hospital staff. Following the tour, the group viewed the CT Scanner and ceremoniously cut the ribbon that was emblazoned with the Project Medishare and Yéle Haiti logos (provided by Metro Signs, Inc.). President Martelly spoke to the crowd and kindly expressed his thanks to Project Medishare for the continued healthcare work being done in Haiti.

Dr. Barth A. Green, Wyclef Jean and President Michel Martelly

Dr. Barth A. Green, Wyclef Jean & President Michel Martelly

Project Medishare would like to extend a very special thank you to:
Wyclef Jean & Yéle Haiti for donating this incredible & important gift.
President Michel Martelly & First Lady Sophia Martelly for attending.
Metro Signs, Inc. for donating the lettering, signage & ribbon.

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Jason Miller is the in-country Rehabilitation Director for Project Medishare. He travels throughout Haiti to the clinics for the amputee program that are put on in remote locations whenever there is an opportunity to do so. Jason explains that, through a local contact, they are able to set up the site and dates of clinics and he helps coordinate the patients. On one particular trip, they brought a doctor to handle medical cases and were able to treat over a total of 60 patients in just two days! That included their rehab, prosthetic, wound care and medical patients.

Jason was with Project Medishare hosting a clinic in La Gonave when he met an 8-year-old Haitian girl. Julandia is a spina bifida patient that had arrived at the clinic with bad ulcers (wounds) on her feet. She had no sensation in her feet so a donated hand-bike seemed like a good way to allow her feet to heal while she could be mobile and able to exercise in her home. Julandia was given the bike the first day of the clinic and she was able to drive and steer herself with only a small amount of training. By the end of the day, she was maneuvering the hand-bike on her own and quite happy. Medical Teams International, MTI, is the organization that donated the PET International bike that Julandia now owns. Because of the severity of her spina bifida, Julandia will not be able to walk. This makes providing her with a means of independent mobility so very important.

Jason Miller, Julandia & her grandmother

Thanks to Jason Miller, the Project Medishare prosthetics team, PET International & Medical Teams International for providing Julandia with this hand-bike and, ultimately, the opportunity for independent mobility.

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Starting line at the Run for Relief 5K

The first annual Run for Relief 5K was truly an amazing race. The event took place this past Sunday, May 15th, 2011 at Peacock Park in Coconut Grove, FL. Participants arrived just as the sun was rising in the morning to pick up their bib numbers and commemorative t-shirts. Haitian-American songstress, Phyllisia Ross, kicked things off by singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” while participants lined up for the start of the race. The often times temperamental Miami weather cooperated for the race and remained comfortably breezy for the 5K. The sounds of 99 JAMZ WEDR-FM filled Peacock Park and could be heard on the racecourse. We were delighted to see so many young school children participating in the race with their parents. We were also thrilled to have a very special guest attend the event with Project Medishare co-founder Dr. Barth Green. A huge accomplishment in itself, 13-year-old Thedjy Romelus walked part of the course with Dr. Green.

Handmade Haitian awards for race winners

Two years ago Drs. John Ragheb and David Sandberg found Thedjy unconscious in Haiti. They performed a life saving operation on his brain and Project Medishare brought him to the United States. When he arrived in Miami, Thedjy had a malignant tumor removed from his brain by Dr. Sandberg. This operation was followed by over a year of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which he recently successfully completed. Thedjy is now attending a special school for vision challenged children, where he is an A student, and sessions of physical therapy. His dream is to be “as tall as a tree”, play in the NBA and to create music. Post-race, standing alongside Dr. Green, Thedjy spoke to the Run for Relief crowd thanking everyone for participating and supporting Project Medishare. He ended his brief but touching message by saying “thank you for saving my life”.

Run for Relief 5K check presentation. Pictured from left are Claude Grubair, Andy DeAngulo, Dr. Barth Green, Thedjy Romelus & race organizer Laura Simko

A $40,000 check was presented to Project Medishare for Haiti by event organizer Laura Simko and Claude Grubair and Andy DeAngulo of the Ransom Athletic Department. Thank you to everyone that supported Project Medishare through the Run for Relief 5K. Congratulations to each person that completed the 5K and to the race winner, Adam Chambers who finished the race with an astonishing time of 16 minutes, 41 seconds! To find your race result, please click here or look for Run for Relief on www.splitsecondtiming.com

Run for Relief 5K race course

We would like to extend a very special thank you to Laura Simko, Claude Grubair, Andy DeAngulo & the entire Ransom Everglades Athletic Department for organizing this race.

Run for Relief 5K finish line

We are already looking forward to the 2nd Annual Run for Relief 5K in 2012 and hope to see you all out there!

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Please join Dr. Barth Green and Project Medishare for Haiti for the first annual “Run for Relief” 5K Run/Walk organized by Ransom Everglades High School Senior, Laura Simko. The event is taking place Sunday, May 15, 2011 at Peacock Park (2820 McFarlane Road) in Coconut Grove and is sponsored by Miami HEAT, Vita Coco, Exhale Spa, Celebrity Cruises, REACH, 99 JAMZ WEDR-FM, Roccos Picture Framing, and Gator Trax. The race starts at Peacock Park at 7:30am. Age divisions range from 8 & under to 70 & over! Pre-Registration Fee is $25 and the Raceday Registration fee is $30. A commemorative T-shirt will be given to all participants featuring the Run for Relief 5K logo (T-shirts guaranteed on the day of the race for Pre-Registration only). At the conclusion of the race there will be an awards ceremony at Peacock Park with exciting live music. For additional information and to register for the event please click here!

We look forward to seeing you all out there!

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We would like to take the opportunity to simply say “Thank You”. Thank you to all of our volunteers, staff, donors and supporters. It is because of you that we have been able to continue to save lives and improve lives in Haiti. It is because of you that we are able to train Haitian physicians, nurses and allied health professionals. It is because of you that we are able to continue our quest to achieve quality healthcare and development services for all in Haiti. It is because of you that children in Haiti, like the ones pictured below, have the opportunity to smile. Thank you for supporting and continuing to support Project Medishare for Haiti.

Children at a Project Medishare clinic in the Central Plateau. Photo by Omar Vega

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A Not So Ordinary Day In The Life

Brittany Crush is the Chief Nursing Officer of Pediatrics at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Prior to arriving in Haiti, Brittany worked in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital in Boston. In April of 2010, Children’s Hospital assembled a group of volunteers to work at the Project Medishare Field Hospital in Haiti. Brittany was part of the group that stayed for one week and she “fell in love with the experience.” In August of 2010, she decided to take a three-month leave of absence from her job at Children’s Hospital in order to volunteer as a charge nurse in Pediatrics at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. After completing her volunteer stint, Brittany was still not ready to leave Haiti so she stayed and was hired by Project Medishare in December of 2010.

Day in the Life

There are no ordinary days for Brittany. On days that she is responsible for staffing the unit at the hospital, she wakes up at 5am so she is at work by 5:45am. On days that she does not have to staff the unit she is up at 6:30am and at the hospital around 7:30am. She starts most days by doing rounds of all of the units to make sure she answers all of the volunteer nurses’ questions and their patient needs. Then she checks on all of the patients in pediatrics with the staff physician and the volunteer physician. After doing morning rounds, her days are never really the same. Most days she has at least one transport from the hospital to other facilities for diagnostic testing or patient transfers, she arranges to get blood from the Red Cross for patients who emergently need it, she assists with procedures in wound care and in the Emergency Room when sedation is needed, etc. She can often be found providing care at the bedsides of critically ill patients in the pediatric department. Brittany’s scope of work goes beyond the medicine that she practices. She recently started a movie night for the children in the hospital and also planned and executed an Easter celebration complete with basket decorating and an egg hunt. She is also training the pediatric nurses in Congenital Heart Defects, Hydrocephalus, Ventilators and CPR.

Brittany oversees the care for up to 18 patients ranging in age from premature babies born at 29 weeks to teenagers that are 16 years old. Hospital Bernard Mevs has 14 cribs and 5 cots in the pediatrics department. The majority of the patients that are in Brittany’s care are babies born prematurely and toddlers up to 3 years of age. The most common reasons why these young patients are admitted are for fever, sepsis, seizures, meningitis, respiratory distress and trauma from car accidents or falls.

After a 12-hour workday that is exhausting both physically and emotionally, Brittany leaves the hospital between 6:30pm and 7:30pm. When she gets home, she usually makes a simple dinner of pasta or tuna fish and then is in bed early by 9pm or 10pm. She leaves her phone on over night for any emergencies or needs that the hospital may have. Every few weeks Brittany goes out to dinner at a restaurant in Petion-ville that has live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Brittany’s living quarters in Haiti are slightly different than the ones she was occupying at home in the US. She currently resides in a two bedroom apartment in Delmas, a section of Port-au-Prince. She shares the apartment with Rachel, the volunteer coordinator at Hospital Bernard Mevs. The girls each have their own bedroom, but they share a bathroom.  They live in the same building as the other long-term Medishare staff. The television in the apartment has not been turned on yet as there is no cable or DVD player. They do not have internet access in the apartment so Brittany says that it “is a challenge in trying to communicate home via Skype.” She does not have a lot of time to keep up with US pop culture unless a volunteer brings down a People or US Weekly magazine.

In Her Words:
“My favorite part of working with Project Medishare is that I get to work in a country with such amazing people. Every day I see people who have been through the worst come in to the hospital with smiles on their faces. They appreciate anything you can do to help them or a family member. I feel blessed everyday to be here.”

Brittany Crush, Chief Nursing Officer of Pediatrics

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