Canadian Medical Teams Helping Out in Haiti

Monthly Archives: April 2014

Mission End, Part 2: Long road home

It’s been a long week in Port-au-Prince. I am super excited to get home and see Allison, my kids and take a long, long shower. 

We have only a few hours left here and it truly has been another amazing experience. The team just gelled as they always do in these crazy circumstances, and all were working in unison. We really are larger than the sum of our parts.

In a weird way it is tough to leave.  I will miss the sounds, the smells, the patients and our new team family.  Everyone always asks why do you go back?  That’s why. The patients who need our help. The amazing people so eager and willing to give it.  

It’s been non-stop here. Last night I met with senior doctors in Haiti last night to ensure as many participants as possible get the benefit of the teaching we are offering.  That’s so important for the medical infrastructure here. And today, I had a great opportunity to secure some space to store materials and help our good friends at Project Stitch.  Jo and Scott are incredibly dedicated to giving these often forgotten patients their lives back. To treat them with the dignity they deserve. It is an honour to be a part of it.  

Meanwhile on the compound, there have been three multiple-injured patients come in over night and all hands are on deck once again, sprinting to the finish line.

In a bizarre twist, we saw a man who got shot in the head… wait for it… TWO DAYS AGO… and walked into hospital asking to be assessed.  The X-ray showed a bullet in his skull… like I said in a previous blog, this place never ceases to surprise you.

We have all worked so hard and are all exhausted but excited to get home to family and friends. Passing the baton to the Dalhousie team next. I have no doubt they’ll be amazing.

Many of you have sent such amazing notes of support for the team. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it and how it lifts us up to do more for the people of Haiti. Thank you so much for that. Please keep it up. It truly does help.

From 33 degrees in Port-au-Prince to 1 degree in St. John’s, see you all soon.

– Andrew

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Mission’s End, Part 1: See the good.

Yesterday was a good day.

I remembered a very important lesson… see the good. I had a chance to read my last few blogs and realized I sounded a bit gloomy. I guess what didn’t come across was that I believe that, in the midst of the heartache Haiti brings, there are good things happening. See the good. It lifts you up.

The orphanage, although always a tearful visit, was incredible for the team to know how good work can be done despite the despair. These kids have nothing. But they smile. They play. They have good people looking after them. And I honestly believe that one of these kids will change this country.

Back at the hospital, Dr. Noftall replaced a hip that had been in traction for weeks and twelve hours later patient went home.

Mary Rideout has been a logistical superstar and has collected 40 people to attend our first trauma course in May.

Sonia Sampson pushed through difficult conditions for anesthesia and completed two cleft palates. Literally changing the faces of the future here.

There’s still lots to do. And we are all excited to have a Dalhousie team joining us from Halifax and digging in on the endless cases we have seen and can’t treat.

See the good. Because when you do what you really see is hope.

– Andrew

 

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It’s the surprises that you never see coming…

One thing you can count on in Haiti is that the place will change you. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, it manages to somehow surprise you again.

Yesterday was one of those days.   

In my job I don’t often see sick children in orthopedics.  It’s just not a routine part of my practice and when I saw an 8 year-old child (my daughter’s age) with a neglected leg wound that had exposed her entire shin, well, it just hit me so bloody hard. Sadly, she needed an amputation and will survive because of it, but cutting an 8 year-old’s leg off for a treatable infection is not a procedure I ever wanted to be part of and believe me, it hurt us both.

I know, I know. Gotta keep my spirits up. As the sun broke through the clouds, I got to watch my sister work in the surgery unit. That’s a very special experience for me.  Family matters so much to me, to us all. She is younger than me but so much stronger than she knows and better than I will ever be. So proud of her and so glad she’s here.

The team has been going all out. The nurses are really the true heroes.  They work without us but we can’t work with out them!  

The CBC coverage has been great and Anthony Germain has gelled well with the team. His coverage will go a long way to shed light on what needs to be done here. Haiti needs help, we need help.   We can’t do it alone so I always hope this will continue to be the momentum for change.

Keep thinking of that little girl’s leg. If this were home, it would not have come to this. I can’t write anymore today.

– Andrew

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Things are heating up… maybe not in NL, but they are in Haiti!

April Fool’s Day so I was skeptical to hear that St. John’s got hit with what was described as the BIGGEST snowstorm of the season! Didn’t believe it till I saw the pics online. Hope everyone’s safe!

After last night’s thunderstorms, it was good to see the sun this morning. Hot, hot day though. We have managed to accomplish so much in such a small amount of time already.  I knew the team was good, but didn’t appreciate exactly how it would grow and rise to the new heights.

Last night was another flurry of activity in the emergency room with two traumas at the same time, one adult and one child.  Rolling covered patients through the torrential rains to get tests was a new one for all of us.  Fortunately, a soaking wet team still got the work done with Dr, Barter in the lead!

This morning brought another ray of hope of change here in Haiti.  I had the opportunity to teach 15 orthopedic residents at a local university about fracture care.  After the lecture they came to watch Dr. Noftall treat two patients in the OR. This educational aspect is crucial to rebuilding the medical infrastructure in this country.

Andrea Hann and all of the pediatric nurses have been amazing, working through the long nights and hot days with a smile, which goes a long way here for patients and staff alike.

We made further progress last night in the hospital project supported by Brendan Paddick and Columbus Communications.  We met with a fantastic contractor and family who are interested in helping the cause.  It will make such a difference to all.

Wish I could be there to help with the shoveling, but former Team Broken Earth member John Hopkins came by my place to take care of it… thanks John!!

– Andrew

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Yoga Event Fundraiser

A group from ACH and FMC paired with KidSIM will be travelling to Haiti with Team Broken Earth in Sept to provide front line health care to Haitian’s but also to aid in the rebuilding of the health care system in Haiti.

KidSIM is involved in creating a sustainable simulation curriculum for the Hatian Pediatric Residency Program . This is the second year of this program and we are excited to be involved.

We are very Grateful to the Bodhi Tree Yoga Center for their sponsorship of this exciting event.

Please join its on April 26 from 1400-1515 where the talented Jamie Cameron will lead us through a non-heated yang/yin class steeped in Hope, Gratitude, Strength and Surrender. See attached poster

Please find more information at: www.bodhitreeyoga.ca

Contact us at info@brokenearth.ca