Doctor Ben helping remove a bone fragment from this young fella's arm. This kid was so brave and didn't move a bit throughout the 45 minute procedure. Most impressive!
This adorable boy is Mish. He is 11 yrs old and has brittle bone disease. He is so charming and so engaging. Mish has broken so many bones, the doctors were amazed that he is walking at all. He does need surgery to correct some of the bones that haven't healed properly.
This little girl iss quite amazing. Her head measured 38 inches around and she was still able to move around and watch us as we talked with her mother. She was alert and has good neurological responses. She desperately needs surgery to remove the fluid. At this point, she is waiting for us to find a doctor and hospital that will give her care.
We saw a good number of children during our travels and had the opportunity to see a few medical facilities that provide good care in Port au Prince. The most extraordinary was the hospital started by friends and partners, Father Rick Frechette and Conan Conaboy. This is a wonderful example of what medical care for the Haitian community could be if excellence was the goal. Our group was so thankful for being able to tour their hospital and to hear about all they are working towards to serve the poor children in Haiti's capital. The Hospital is Hopital Saint Damien and is located near the airport in Port au Prince.
As we were touring some of the other hospitals, one thought that went through my mind a few times during our travels is that parents in this country must live in fear that their children will get sick. It isn't like here in the states where if our child gets the sniffles and a fever, we can decide to run to the closest doctor or emergency care facility. First of all, in many Haitian hospitals, you must have all funds needed to pay for the doctor, the facility, the medications and the supplies that your child needs. If you cannot pay up front, then you don't get care. If you can afford to pay, then you must take your chance that you will get good care and good medicines. There is no form of Medicaid to cover care for poor children and hospitals and doctors are allowed to turn you away if they desire. Hopefully, your child won't get sick on a weekend or at night...there is little to no emergency care service. If you child is sick enough to warrent a hospital stay and you can afford to pay, you must stay and provide all the daily care your child needs, including food while the child is there. This is especially true at night as we were told by a Haitian doctor that many nurses sleep through the night. He told us many deaths occur during this time. The fortunate families are those that are able to find help from any number of volunteer medical teams that travel to Haiti or at a hospital like Hopital Saint Damien. However, the ratio of the care available to the number of sick children is staggering. Often there just isn't any help and parents are forced to sit by helpless and heartbroken as their children die. And this happens at an alarming rate in a country just 700 miles from our shore. Sometimes I have to admit that it is just overwhelming to look around and see that much despair and not have the means to effect a significant change. I am so thankful for the many individuals who fight this battle daily and have given their time, energy and faith to these families. I am thankful for anyone who is willing to step outside of their daily lives for even a short time to try and make a difference for a small child from Haiti. Without their efforts, none of the work would ever be done.