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Posts Tagged ‘Project Medishare field hospital’

Project Medishare for Haiti would like to thank the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity for their generous donation in honor of Dr. Gerald Bertoni, father of Dr. Alain Bertoni. Dr. Alain Bertoni is an Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences and Internal Medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine and the Director of Research at the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity.

Maya Angelou herself has been a longstanding supporter of Project Medishare for Haiti. Dr. Angelou and her son Guy Johnson narrated the film Once There Was a Country which examined the healthcare crisis in Haiti and highlighted the rich cultural heritage and the little known triumphs of the country that became the first black-ruled nation after the first successful slave revolt in 1791. She also wrote the following for Save Haiti Saturday (a fundraising campaign started by Project Medishare supporters after the 2010 earthquake): “The question is, am I my brother and sister’s keeper? The answer is more than that. I am my brother and my sister. I am a person trapped in a building which has collapsed in Haiti. I am a father who cannot get to his children in Haiti. I am a mother who is injured holding her injured baby with no aid. I’m not ashamed to say I need your help and I am grateful to say thank you.”

This donation from the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity is especially important not only because of Dr. Angelou’s connection with Haiti but also because of Dr. Bertoni’s connection with the country. “Dr. Alain Bertoni is the son of two physicians who immigrated to the United States from Haiti before he was born.  He spent a week of his personal time in Haiti last year helping out in the tent hospital after the earthquake, working with Project Medishare. His commitment to help was deeply felt and something that mattered very much to him”- Winona K. Gilbert

Dr. Alain Bertoni (L) at the Project Medishare field hospital in Haiti

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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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One year ago on June 6th, 2010, Project Medishare for Haiti moved the 300-bed field hospital that was erected shortly following the January 2010 earthquake. The staff, patients, medications, beds, medical equipment, supplies, etc. were all moved into a brick and mortar building; the Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. The hospital is located about 20 minutes from the Port-au-Prince airport and operates 24/7 for the general public, providing the only critical care and trauma services for all of Haiti.

Moving into Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. June 6, 2010

Moving into Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare. June 6, 2010

As with every hospital in the world, there have unfortunately been some sad stories at the Hospital Bernard Mevs. However, there have been so many more feel good stories that have come out of the hospital in the past year. These uplifting stories definitely outweigh any of the sad stories. There have been many celebrated guests that have shown up at the hospital. Members of the Miami HEAT organization surveyed the property, NFL star Pierre Garçon of the Indianapolis Colts visited the hospital, a CT scanner was donated by Wyclef Jean’s Yéle Haiti and President Michel Martelly and First Lady Sophia Martelly toured the hospital and spoke to staff, volunteers and patients.

Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

An American Red Cross board member donated a Digital X-Ray Machine and Pediatric Respiratory Unit, the City of Miami Beach donated 2 ambulances, a new prosthetic lab was created which was made possible through the partnerships with Ossur and Knights of Columbus and an amputee soccer team, Team Zaryen, was formed with players that are former patients of Hospital Bernard Mevs.

Ambulance donated by the City of Miami Beach

Ambulance donated by the City of Miami Beach

There have been more inspiring visits, happy stories and generous donations that have been made in the one-year that Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare has been up and running. The most telling statistic is the one that matters: 89,694 patients have been treated this past year at Hospital Bernard Mevs with only 45 beds at the facility. We thank you all for your continued support and encourage you to please keep coming back to help save lives in Haiti and please give whatever you can so that we can continue to effectively run the hospital.

An operating room at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

An operating room at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare

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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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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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Edith, twenty-four years old, was riding as a passenger in a tap tap when a barrel fell off of a truck and struck her, injuring her C6/C7 vertebrae and causing paralysis. She could not move her legs, she was not able to sit-up or balance on her own and she could barely move her arms. She arrived and was admitted to the Project Medishare field hospital after first visiting another hospital in Haiti. When the organization moved to Hospital Bernard Mevs in the summer of 2010, Edith subsequently moved as well in order to continue treatment and obtain further critical care.

Edith completed her rehabilitation program and returned to her home. Unfortunately, her return home was short-lived and only lasted for one month. On a follow-up visit to Edith, she was found without her wheelchair and living outside. She had developed a severe wound living in those conditions and was immediately brought back to Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare.

Marty, a physical therapist with extensive experience in spinal cord injury rehabilitation was at Hospital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare for a six-week volunteer stint. When they first met, Edith had begun preparing for her discharge back home. She was leaving the hospital with the mindset that she would constantly require assistance from someone else in order to be mobile. Marty did not share this notion; she believed that Edith had the potential to push her own wheelchair.

Edith said that Marty “was crazy” to think Edith could push her own chair. She really did not think she had the strength or function in her arms and hands to hold the wheel and push her chair. Marty explained to her that by using different muscles she would be able to do so. After nearly two weeks of daily strengthening exercises, Edith was ready to try pushing her chair by herself. Marty found rubber tubing to attach to the rim of the wheels to help Edith’s hands grip the wheel. Once everything was set it was time for Edith to see herself the way Marty saw her; strong and with limitless possibilities.

Using her shoulder muscles instead of her arms and squeezing in on the wheels, Edith was able to push the wheel. With a smile on her face, Edith said that she was “very tired and very happy”. She really did not believe that she would be able to push herself on her own but surprised herself and was very excited by what she was able to accomplish. Marty of course was extremely proud and happy for Edith who now has the ability to move around her own home and not be dependent on others.

Below is footage of Edith pushing her wheelchair by herself for the very first time.

 
Special thanks to Rachel Belt of Project Medishare in Haiti for providing the video and details of Edith’s story and to Xavi Manrique for assisting in the editing of the footage.

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This great documentary on Project Medishare premiered on Plum TV this past weekend. In case you missed it, take a few minutes to watch the video below.

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