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Posts Tagged ‘medical volunteers in Haiti’

In the spirit of Thanksgiving in the United States, we want to share this touching thank you note we recently received from an Emergency Room doctor who brought a group of 15 from Minnesota to volunteer at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Haiti:

“Dear Project Medishare,

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to all of you for what you are doing in Haiti.  Running a hospital in the middle of Haiti is a near impossible task. That being said, you are all succeeding at the task amazingly well. Given the resources and surroundings, what you do is nothing short of miraculous. I know sometimes you lose sight of all the good that you are doing, but you should all be incredibly proud of what you have built and accomplished.

On a personal note, I want to thank you Toni, Rachel, and Kathleen for helping me through the week. For me, going to Haiti and working for a week is challenging enough. Bringing a group along was in many ways challenging also. Fortunately, with your help, the experience for the group was amazing. I feel like we helped the Haitian people, we helped our patients, and I personally succeeded in opening the eyes of 15 people to the grace and suffering of the Haitian people. Everyone from the crew I went with came back to Minnesota fundamentally changed. Perhaps this was the greatest gift for me on this trip and I could not have done that without your constant support and advice.

It has been an honor for me to have the opportunity to work with you. Working with you and getting to know each of you has been another gift from Haiti that I will always cherish. I realize that things will change, but one of my enduring memories of Haiti will be the times I spent with each of you.

I firmly believe that what Project Medishare is doing in Haiti is nothing short of miraculous. Going and working there has been life-changing for me.  Probably the most difficult, challenging, yet the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

Be strong.  Continue the good fight as long as you are able.  What you are doing is amazing…..

Thanks again for everything,
Sam

P.S.  I will return…”

Sam Abelson, MD at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. November 2011

Sam Abelson, MD at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare in Port-Au-Prince. November 2011

It is truly incredible to us at Project Medishare for Haiti that our grassroots operation has such a loyal and dedicated support base. It is because of your giving (of your time and of your monetary donations) that we are able to save lives in the beautiful country of Haiti.  On behalf of everyone at Project Medishare for Haiti, we thank each of YOU for allowing us to continue to carry out our mission.

THANK YOU & HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Nik Torres, RN, tends to one of Project Medishare's tiniest patients in the NICU/PICU at the field hospital. Many volunteer nurses, like Torres, chose to serve for long stints or return for another deployment. Torres volunteered for six weeks. Photo by Daniel Cima.

By Jennifer Browning

Today for National Nurses Day, Project Medishare wishes to recognize the excellent work done by nurses, whether it is at our field hospital in Port-au-Prince or through our Community Health Program in Haiti’s Central Plateau.

So far 624 nurses have deployed with Project Medishare, along side doctors, surgeons, physical therapists, pharmacists, and many other medical professionals. These volunteers lined up to help our neighboring Haiti in their most desperate hour. Each week new nurses arrive continuing to serve in Haiti now close to four months after the quake.

Nurses like Joplin, Missouri’s Michelle Chacon, who after her 12-hour day shift, went back to the pediatric ward several nights to check on one of her patients, Vincent. The 11-year-old boy had just received a life-saving surgery to due to a ruptured gall bladder.

After his surgery, Vincent told Michelle he thought he was going to die that night. Michelle spent the day sitting with the young boy, staying right by his cot, seeing her other patients as needed, but always keeping a close eye him. At the end of her shift, Michelle came back to the pediatrics ward for several hours that evening to sit with him.

Michelle Chacon, tends to a child in the pediatric ward at the Project Medishare field hospital. Since returning to Joplin, Missouri, Michelle has worked to raise awareness in her community about Project Medishare's work in Haiti. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

“I would just sit by him, look in his eyes, and talk to him,” Michelle said. Despite the language barrier, the two seemed to be able to communicate. “He wouldn’t give up, and I wouldn’t give up on him.”

The next morning, when Michelle began her shift, Vincent greeted her with a big smile full of bright, white teeth.

Two days later, Michelle got to see Vincent stand for the first time since his surgery. A week later, after Michelle had returned to the United States, Vincent was walking with the assistance of a walker. A scene all volunteers at our field hospital were happy to see.

Michelle said that while nursing is the same wherever you may be, she agreed that practicing nursing in Haiti had its challenges.

“With nursing in Haiti, you had to learn to improvise, as not all the medical supplies you need were right at hand,” she said. “The reward in Haiti was greater I think. You could see the impact you made in even just one life. The people there are amazing, so grateful for the care and help they receive. I will always keep a special place in my heart for the people of Haiti.”

Michelle said for her being a nurse is all about giving of yourself and serving others in need.

“It is the greatest job to be able to serve another human being who is down and lift them up. It not only touches your life, but in turn touches their life as well. Sometimes the best medicine is just to take the time to sit beside someone and really listen. Maybe even hold their hand and let them know they are not alone,” Michelle said. “The greatest reward a nurse can receive is a big glowing smile from her patient saying thank you. Just knowing you impacted their life in a positive way caring for them not only physically but lifting their spirits, as well, is reward enough.”

Since returning to her Missouri home, Michelle has been working to raise awareness in her community about Project Medishare.

Many of Project Medishare’s volunteer nurses, like Michelle, have shown the compassion to provide hands-on patient care at the bedside of those we are currently serving in Haiti. These nurses have worked long hours, in challenging conditions and improvised as necessary to help their medical team continue to save lives.

Volunteer nurse, 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. Stefanie volunteered with Project Medishare in January and returned for her second deployment at the end of March. Photo by Jennifer Browning.

As Project Medishare works toward moving out of the tent hospital and into a permanent fixed-facility, our local staff has hired 30 Haitian nurses, and is interviewing more to eventually take the place of our wonderful volunteers. Soon, these Haitian nurses will receive additional training in order to learn how to provide better care for their patients at the trauma and rehabilitation hospital.

This is Project Medishare’s ultimate goal, to empower the Haitian people to eventually be in control of their own destiny.

Thank you to all of our volunteer nurses who have helped us provide medical relief to those affected by the January earthquake.

These volunteers couldn’t have done their important work without the financial support of many of you who contributed in the early days and continuing months after the earthquake. It costs $300 to send one volunteer to Haiti to work at our field hospital for one week.

If you have already donated, we thank you, but if you can give more today, your tax-deductible contribution will help us continue our important work to those affected by the January 12 earthquake.

If you would like to give more, please click here to go to our secure online donation site. Your generous contribution will help us continue to work toward our goal in not only saving lives today, but helping the Haitian people stand on their own in the future.

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