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Archive for July, 2011

Project Medishare for Haiti would like to thank the pediatric team from Nemours for joining us at Hospital Bernard Mevs. Nemours is a Children’s Health System. Their Mission is “to provide leadership, institutions and services to restore and improve the health of children through care and programs not readily available, with one high standard of quality and distinction regardless of the recipient’s financial status.” The team that came to Hospital Bernard Mevs traveled from the Nemours hospital in Delaware. They brought down a team of six nurses, two doctors and a Respiratory Therapist. Some members of the team were actually at the Project Medishare field hospital last year. They plan on sending two more teams down to Bernard Mevs this year. The team was made up of Beth Moore, RN, Joey Muller, RN, Gail Gallagher, RN, Debra Miller, RN, Sandy Glenn-Vernon, RN, Becky Schorn, RN, Amy Renwick, MD, Edward Cullen, MD, Suzanne Moon, RT.

Suzanne Moon, RT spent a lot of time teaching Ms. Blanchard, one of the Haitian nurses training in pediatric critical care, how to use the ventilator and the different types of ventilation used in pediatrics. The rest of the team was working side by side with the Haitian nurses training them in neonatal and pediatric critical care. The team has also gathered a lot of donated supplies that they have brought to Haiti and will continue to bring more on their next two trips.

Nemours founder, Alfred I. duPont firmly believed that “it is the duty of everyone in the world to do what is within his power to alleviate human suffering.” Mr. duPont’s words and his legacy of compassion have lived on for more than 70 years through the care and services provided to children and families at Nemours. The care and services have now been shared with our staff and in turn our patients in Haiti.

Suzanne Moon, RT from Nemours training Haitian nurse, Ms. Blanchard on a pediatric ventilator.

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Project Medishare for Haiti would like to extend a huge thank you to Network Computing Architects, Inc., a Bellevue, Washington based firm. Network Computing Architects, Inc. recently donated several pieces of high-grade network electronics to Project Medishare. These electronics are the backbone of the CT scanner imaging network located at the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The donated goods are valued between $20,000-$25,000. Registered Technologist Dean Lee and Dr. Bill Crenshaw met with Thomas Gobeille, President and CEO of Network Computing Architects, Inc. and Lee Craft. Thomas and Lee kindly asked what else they could do to help Project Medishare and without hesitation, donated the electronics.

Thomas Gobeille is responsible for management and direction of Network Computing Architects, Inc.  His ultimate focus is on the technical sales process and providing the tools and support to drive consultative lead business solutions. Mr. Gobeille was nominated for “Entrepreneur of the Year” for the State of Washington and sits on several CEO and Operating Officer roundtables.

We are extremely grateful to Network Computing Architects, Inc., Thomas Gobeille and Lee Craft for their generous donation.

Network electronics

The old network electronics

Registered Technologist Dean Lee, Dr. Marlon Bitar, Dr. Jerry Bitar, Dr. Barth A. Green & Dr. Bill Crenshaw in front of the new donated network electronics

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My Project Medishare
By Karen Miller

I am adventurous by nature and a traveler at heart, so last summer when I considered what the next stage of my life would look like as I headed into my thirties sent me into panic mode.  I have always wanted to do medical work overseas and it felt like my opportunity to do so was “now or never,” so it had to be now.  Aside from becoming a Nurse Anesthetist, my decision to move to Haiti last September was the best one I ever made.

Family members through CFM brought me to Haiti.  They offered me a place to stay and the emotional support that every person needs when taking on an adventure like this.  When I arrived, I didn’t know what I was getting into.  Where would I work?  How would I get around?  What exactly would I be doing?  Everything was up in the air.  I knocked on the gate of Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, and little did I know, I was home.  The four buildings behind a large guarded orange gate would challenge me, frustrate me, reward me, and change me.  The people I saw hustling around would become dear friends, coworkers, or maybe just a nuisance, but a part of me nonetheless.

My first job assignment was to work as an anesthetist in the operating rooms.  We had new volunteers coming every week and sometimes we would have anesthesia help, and sometimes we wouldn’t.  Dorothy was my mentor, a locally trained Anesthesiologist who had the patience of a saint.  I will never forget my first patient; he was a little 5 month old with hydrocephalus.  I wasn’t used to doing pediatric cases, and the resources were so limited and unfamiliar that I wasn’t sure I could.  But, the weeks went by and I slowly became less green.

My second week, I was asked by our wonderful medical director to become the director of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the hospital.  This was intimidating for two reasons.  The first was – Director?  The second was the fact that our hospital’s ICU is the only one in the country.  We had all the ventilators, all the medications, and most of the gadgets to offer.  That meant if someone needed to be intubated and mechanically ventilated, they came to us.  If somebody needed support with medications, they came to us.  With only four beds in the ICU, it amazed me that we were not overflowing continuously.  The people of Haiti are very resilient and they can withstand almost anything thrown at them, but, just in case their defenses were down, we were there.

I can’t even begin to describe how blessed I felt to have helped each one of our patients.  As I am writing this, I can see their faces.  Some stories ended badly, some ended triumphantly, but we always tried our best with what we had.

The most rewarding part of my journey was working with Haitian ICU nurses, all of whom I grew to know and love.  When I met them, they were slightly standoffish.  Most likely they were tired of all the new faces, and medical volunteers constantly telling them the “correct” way to practice nursing.  I slowly gained their trust and their respect and together we made a great team.  With their increase in confidence came a new desire for learning; they were constantly asking great questions and studying on their own.  I started holding some classes for all the hospital nurses, and everyone loved it.  They would repeatedly ask me to teach them again.  It made me realize how much I took my education for granted during my schooling years.  Groaning about doing homework, or missing an event to study seems silly to me now.  What an amazing opportunity we have in the United States, to pick up a book in our native language and read it; to be able to research anything that comes to mind using a search engine.  I wish that everyone had the opportunities for education that I did.

Last month, as my time in Haiti was winding down, I began training one of our very talented Haitian nurses to take over my position as Director of the ICU.  She is perfect for the job and I’m so proud of her and all of the nurses for their dedication to nursing, to Hospital Bernard Mevs, and to the people of Haiti.  The ICU will still be receiving volunteers, but the nurses have really made it their own unit.

My future plans include another adventure – Boston this time.  I will begin my career as a pediatric nurse anesthetist at Children’s Hospital Boston this September.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to have learned about myself and the people of Haiti.  It has entirely changed the direction of my life.  I am also grateful to Hartville Mennonite Church and CFM for granting me that opportunity.  It would not have been possible without them!

Karen Miller with a patient at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

From everyone at Project Medishare for Haiti:

THANK YOU KAREN, GOOD LUCK & SEE YOU AGAIN!

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On Monday, June 27th 2011, senior leaders of Rotary International’s District 6990, which comprises southeast Florida and Grand Bahama Island, presented a $70,000 grant commitment to Drs. Barth Green and Arthur Fournier of Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc. Drs. Green and Fournier will use the funds to provide training and equipment in the areas of radiology, ophthalmology, and laboratory work essential to providing urgent care to critically injured and ill patients at the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

This is the second time Rotary International’s District 6990 has partnered with Project Medishare to fund work in Haiti. In 2007, the Zone 34 Rotary District gave Project Medishare $107,733 towards their nutrition program in the Central Plateau of Haiti, the poorest area of the country. “We are proud to be partnering with Project Medishare once again in their efforts towards the sustainable redevelopment of Haiti,” said Noelle A. Galperin, Rotary District 6990 Haiti Initiative Task Force Chair. “After visiting Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, it quickly became apparent that this is an organization that is achieving ambitious goals in Haiti – training and employing Haitian doctors, nurses and health care administrators to be the future health care leaders in their country.”

Thank you Rotary International District 6990 for your continued support of Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc.  

Rotary International’s District 6990 check presentation to Project Medishare

Rotary International’s District 6990 second check presentation to Project Medishare

Rotary International is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. Rotary’s global membership is approximately 1.2 million men and women who belong to more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary clubs have been serving communities worldwide for more than a century. www.rotary.org

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Rachel Belt is the Volunteer and Logistics Coordinator at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She has an extensive history of helping others. Before joining Project Medishare, Rachel worked for Doctors Without Borders in New York, World Health Organization in Geneva, The Medical Research Council in Uganda and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative in New York. Rachel was born in Connecticut but lived in England and on an island off of Washington State. She is a graduate of Columbia University and had been looking to move her job abroad when one of her friends sent her the job description for the Volunteer and Logistics Coordinator. She flew down a few days later for an interview and moved to Haiti only three weeks after seeing the job posting.

After joining the Project Medishare staff in March, Rachel has relocated her home to Delmas 41, the staff house, which is a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. She shares the apartment with Brittany, Chief Nursing Officer of Pediatrics. Rachel usually wakes up around 6:00am to coordinate transportation at the hospital in via telephone. Most days the staff of Hospital Bernard Mevs travels together to work, which is about a 20 minute drive, and arrive at the hospital around 8am. Upon her arrival, Rachel makes sure the food has been distributed, answers questions and checks emails. Most of her work is coordinating the arrival of people with the Project Medishare staff in Miami, dealing with the needs of the volunteers currently on the ground, organizing transportation and showing visitors around the hospital. She spends a lot of her day answering questions as there are roughly 30 new people at the hospital every week. The weekends are particularly busy with the arrival and departure of the volunteer teams on Saturdays.

Rachel oversees approximately 35 to 50 volunteers each week at the hospital. The Project Medishare volunteers range anywhere in age from 18 to 65 years old and they come from everywhere. Many of the volunteers come from New York and Florida but Rachel said that they are now seeing more volunteers from Canada and the West Coast. Aside from her regular job responsibilities, she likes to play with the children around the hospital and feed babies in the Pediatrics ward. Each day she leaves the hospital between 7pm and 8pm. After work, Rachel goes home and cooks dinner. She then either studies, listens to the radio, reads or visits with other members of staff in the house. She normally goes to bed between 10pm and 11pm.

In Her Own Words

“I really like the mission and the staff. I just extended my time here to return to school full time in 2012 rather than in September since I felt I was learning so much from the managers I work with here at Project Medishare in Haiti. There is so much work to be done and encouraging people to engage in work to help others is a powerful way to change the way the world works. Making a good experience for the volunteers is a way to help widen the network of people willing to help others.  The experience leaves a lasting impression on you and one that makes people’s families and friends more aware of the needs here and in other places. The people that come to volunteer are inspired by our Haitian staff and by their fellow volunteers and go on to engage coworkers, family and friends in their own efforts. I love the enthusiasm and perspective that people bring every week.”

When asked what the most pressing needs are in her department Rachel said to donate “time! Come join us for a week or two. We need medical and some non-medical staff.” If you are interested in volunteering with Project Medishare, please click here!

Rachel Belt, Volunteer & Logistics Coordinator with a patient at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

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