Tag Archives: Newfoundland and Labrador

Planning and organizing for the week

I’ve heard that perfection is in the details but I beg to differ. I think perfection is found in organization. Maybe that’s the same thing. I’m a doctor not a linguist!  But I believe in the right people doing the right jobs and everything working in balance no matter how stressful it gets. We all work towards that here. And it’s a lesson we take back with us each time.

Anyways, no rest for the weary (or is it the wicked?). All hands were up bright and early today and it’s going to be a full day of clinic for the surgeons. Dr. Fitzpatrick (plastics) and Dr. Sampson (anesthesia) have been working as a team assessing pediatric patients for the OR this week.

Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Jackman and Dr. Moores travelled to the public hospital to triage which patients we could help in our limited time here.  Too many patients, too few hours. Unfortunately that’s always a problem here.

Patricia, an equipment rep for Stryker, has taken over as the lead logistics person, booking patients for surgery and detailing all equipment.   She’s been a real super star for the team this trip.

There was a massive rain storm last night. One of our rooms flooded.  Equipment and wet gear.  Electricity out.  But no dampened spirits.  Everyone is excited to start work tomorrow. It’s just one more hurdle to jump and we’re all pumped to go the distance.

Off to dry the floor…

-Andrew

Ps. Please send along any comments or questions you may have. We really do get by thanks to your support.

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The Energy of Inspiration.

Coming from an island in the raging North Atlantic, it might seem odd that a place like Haiti is more becoming like a second home. It’s been getting easier coming down here with every trip. I like to think that we’re getting it down, becoming more efficient, a little smoother.

Sure, it is always tough to leave home, but there’s always something so inspiring that brings us all back again and again. When I pause to think of the network we are creating, it just makes me so proud of our now national effort. From Calgary’s educational influence to communicating with Vancouver, Halifax and Ottawa about their upcoming trips, you really see the future take shape and for Haiti that means the most important commodity of all… hope. Many hands do lighten the load and, more importantly, they also extend the reach.

The organization of Broken Earth can be grueling at times. Six teams in a three-month period is not unlike organizing six different weddings. It can cause you to lose focus. Run you down. But then the kindness of an individual can completely recharge you. That happened to me just before we left…

One of our team members told me about a patient she had at our hospital in St. John’s. The patient’s name is Loretta and she was so moved by Broken Earth’s work in Haiti that she wanted to help too. Keep in mind this special person is in hospital, as a patient! She got the nurses to purchase first aid kits to bring to Haiti. On top of that, she wants to organize a fundraising dinner when she’s discharged. At a time when most people would be rightfully focused on themselves, Loretta is focused on helping us help the people of Haiti. Even writing this now, I get a rush and want to do more. Thank you for that, Loretta!

Now it’s back to work here in Port-au-Prince. Lot’s to do but thanks to people like Loretta and all our supporters, our team is ready for it.

– Andrew

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Every stone’s throw created a ripple.

I’ve been lucky to meet some truly talented people. Outliers. Originals. The kind of people that inspire you by how they’ve made a difference simply by being themselves. Alan Doyle and Brendan Paddick spring to mind. And Andrew James O’Brien is one as well. Andrew is an award-winning musician with a big heart. He’s always been a huge supporter of Broken Earth and has joined us on our latest mission to Haiti to experience it first hand. That takes guts. But for an artist like Andrew, there is no other way.I asked Andrew to write a guest blog for us. Please, have a read.

– Andrew Furey

 

It’s 12:38am. I’m lying under a mosquito net listening to a child cry. Our bunk room is adjacent to the emergency room, which has been full of activity every day since we arrived here in Port au Prince. It’s tough to hear that sound and not want to get out of bed and help.  My personal qualifications are limited to say the least but the nurses that work the night shift are the best at what they do despite the heat, Mosquitos and the limited resources at their disposal. It’s a surreal thought to think that that child may not make it through the night but equally profound to know that he has a team of tireless and heroic people doing all they can to help him through to morning.

I have seen things here that have changed me in many ways. I’m still trying to make sense of everything down here. The poverty and day-to-day adversity that these people face is staggering. Mental, physical and spiritual duress is constant and seemingly unrelenting. Yet in the face of all this they are resilient, determined and stoic. Fathers stand over their children’s beds until nightfall then sleep uncovered in the open-air courtyard until morning when they return to the bedsides again. Unwavering love.

Patients don’t shout praise from the rooftops. They don’t thank surgeons on their hands and knees for the invaluable service they provide. Instead, they are quietly, deeply thankful. Their’s is a stoic appreciation. Their silence is intensely profound. They are tough and strong willed. They have to be.

I am grateful to the doctors and nurses. I, admittedly have taken for granted, living in Canada, how immensely crucial their services are and seeing them work here in Haiti with limited resources, less than ideal work spaces and literally thousands of patients who all deserve their attention, is absolutely incredible. They work with what they have and when they don’t have what they need they problem solve and push though.

This group consists of some of the most incredible and vital people in the world.

Inevitably, they’ll all return home to their regular jobs and, no doubt, their work will on some level be taken for granted by the ordinary public like myself. Perhaps that’s nobody’s fault. We live in a society where we come to expect their service without thinking or concerning ourselves with what that entails.

I know what it entails now. I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s branded on my brain.

I want to thank them. All of them. So does the man who’s femur was reinforced so he can walk for the first time in three months. So does the mother who’s infant’s heart can pump blood on its own again. So does the girl who had a cleft lip and was kept away from the rest of society. She smiles now.

Profound.

These doctors and nurses do this on their own time, for free, away from their families so that some of the millions of displaced Haitians can have a chance at life.

Dr. Greg Browne, General Surgeon said to me, “We can’t and won’t save everyone. Not even close. But maybe we’ll save the person who will have the answer to all these problems down here”.

Every stone’s throw created a ripple.

– Andrew O’Brien

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So Southward Bound

It was 3 degrees early this morning when I made the trip to the airport. I won’t lie, I’m looking forward to the balmy climate in Haiti! More so, I’m looking forward to picking up where our Calgary team left off.  Those guys did an exceptional job on their 2nd mission.

Got a special guest joining us on this trip… Andrew James O’Brien. Andrew’s played both Rock Ops and has always been such a great supporter of ours. I know this will be a life-changing experience for him as it has been for us all.

These early rises are always tough. Mobilizing 30 people is like organizing a small wedding sometimes. Ended up with some tight connections, especially in Toronto, but I gotta thank Air Canada for holding the flight for us.

This all makes for a long day but the team made it to the hospital in Port-au-Prince and immediately got down to business. We’re all exhausted but just coming through the gates here really amps up your energy. Dr. Barter is running the ER as we speak. Pediatrics has already seen three sick kids. Nat and Leigh Anne are doing an amazing job there.

I’m hoping this will be an early night.

Get a little shuteye. Recharge.

Mission begins for real in the AM.

Night all.

 

-Andrew

 

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