Reverence Pour la Vie

 October 8, 2012

I got back from Haiti late Saturday night.  It was a short trip but one I will never forget. I was thinking about how to share the experience with all of you and I realized it was beyond my limited communication skills and certainly beyond my emotional capacity to write about my experience in one sitting.  So, I am going to try to break this down and share it, story by story, over the course of this week.

view from the mountain heading back to Port Au Prince

I should probably start with explaining where we were and why we were there. 

Over the past three years I have found myself increasingly aware and consequently increasingly sympathetic to helping people (focused on orphans) in develop nations.  Of course I had no idea how to make a difference I just knew I wanted to.  That led me to travel to back to the places where I had adopted children to learn more about their lives before us.   I also had travel opportunities to other places in the developing world due to my work which helped expand my view of the needs beyond those faced by orphans. 

Around the same time, I learned about a local organization called MedWish International and I began working with them to deliver medical supplies to orphanages and clinics in each of the countries I visited.  As I interfaced with Medwish I found myself more and more impressed with their mission and organization.  Eventually I reached the point that working with them as an individual no longer allowed to me make the impact I wanted and I started thinking about how to expand the relationship with them.
Entry to the Hospital

I was spending a lot of time on my "causes" and it was getting hard to manage it all. I came to the realization that I needed to merge my growing personal passion for humanitarian aid work with my actual earn-money-so- we-can-eat work. It was then that I worked to position my company (an emergency medicine management group) to significantly support Med Wish through volunteer, financial and “in-kind” support.

That support was what led us to bring a team of physicians to the Medwish Medical Brigade in El Salvador last August and it is what introduced us to the project in Haiti.

So what is the Haiti project? 

To build, develop and train physicians for the first ever emergency department in Haiti.  Beyond a room that is labeled “emergency” we hope to be able to bring substantial improvement to the level of care the Haitian people have previously known.  

Following the earthquake of 2012 the lack of emergency medicine was identified as a critical  need in Haiti. 
The current "emergency room"...literally just a room.

And where exactly are we doing this?

Through Medwish we were introduced to the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles Haiti.  HAS provides hospital care for over 345,000 people living within the 610 square mile service area. Typically treating more than 100 outpatients each day with approximately half of the hospital’s inpatients being children, the hospital provides surgery, OB, and a rudimentary third world “NICU” They also run a prosthetic clinic, a nutrition center, cholera clinics, physical therapy and primary care.

And soon emergency medicine....
One of our doctors giving a difficult airway management demonstration.

The purpose of this trip was to tour the facility and gain a better understanding of the resources available and the needs of the community.  We spent one evening and a full day doing just that and we came away with a strategic plan that I believe will make a huge impact.

I know now we will be back to Haiti and that our connection to HAS will be long term and meaningful. And that fills me with a satisfaction I can’t fully express. 

Come back tomorrow because I need to share the stories of the people we met on our trip…the people we will serve…the people who inspire us to want to go back
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