Dr. Cam Ross & his team (Lauren, Shandalin, Martha & Kate) were here for just over a week but it felt like a month – they worked so hard!!
They spent 3 days in the Grande Goave Hospital working alongside the Haitian Doctors & Nurses. This was a unique experience for all. Most medical teams prefer to run their clinics independently as the challenges in working in the Hospital are substantial… no running water, incredibly limited supplies, huge language barriers, etc. They were troopers though and have paved the way for future medical teams, which was their main goal in coming here.
Many of the patients they saw in the Hospital had infections, typhoid, malaria or TB but they also did some minor surgeries, joint injections, preventative teaching and diagnosed some STDs, Parkinsons & Meningitis.
Their focus was on patient care & starting relationships in the local Hospital that would open the door for future medical teams to come. Both of these goals were reached! In the final meeting, the Hospital Director expressed his gratitude for showing them that they are not giving the patients the care they are capable of giving & that the people deserve. He also appreciated the teams willingness to learn from the Haitian Doctors & Nurses and, although it was not verbally expressed, it was evident that the experience was empowering for them.
As I have no medical training I wasn’t always sure of my role with the team but I spent most of my time working in the pharmacy dispensing the drugs the team brought. I also got to do some translating and I’m still amazed by how that affected me. It was the first time I’ve done “real translating” – it was amazing how God used me while doing it! There were many guided moments so I’ll only share a couple with you…
The first patient on the first day was a little baby whose head was swollen & the fluid wasn’t draining properly… there’s an official medical term for it but I can’t remember. There was nothing we were able to do for her & there are no brain specialists in the area so we prayed for her & sent her home. Typing this makes it sound even more tragic than it felt at the time. When I came into the room Dr. Ross had already diagnosed the problem & determined there was nothing that could be done. He showed me the baby & as I heard the diagnosis I knew what my role was… at least at that moment. We prayed and I asked God to take His child home. As much as I was out of my comfort zone in the “medical scene”, I have become very comfortable out of my walls & God used my calmness to re-enforce that we were to be servants of God this week & that would require them to rely on God completely.
Here’s a picture of the little girl…
Another guided moment… I walked into the examining room as Shandlin was talking to a patient who had just been diagnosed with an STD. I heard Shandlin tell him that it was important for him to tell anyone he had slept with. He insisted that he had not slept with anyone other than his wife. This is completely out of character for me but I didn’t even hesitate… I took him aside and told him this is someone else’s life he’s taking into his hands & he needed to find the girl & take her to the hospital. I didn’t know anything about this guy, nor had I seen him before, but one look into my eyes & he said, “Ok, I’ll talk to her tonight.” He stopped by the pharmacy as he was leaving the Hospital and said thank you… and it was the most sincere thank you that I’ve ever received.
Here are some pictures of the 3 days the team spent in the hospital;
Minor surgery… boy, these kids are tough!!
The “fake nurse”… although the kids didn’t care
This lady had been in the hospital for awhile & had no family to bring her food or keep her clean so she was in terrible shape – hadn’t been bathed (or changed) in over a week & she even had bed sores on her check! They couldn’t diagnose any problem but she was deteriorating quickly. The team spent time with her everyday – bathing her & getting her comfortable. She passed away the day after the team worked in the hospital. It was truly a pleasure for the Nurses to care for her & a great example to the hospital staff.
The team spent 1 day doing a clinic for the church members and 1 day doing health checks for all the kids at H2H.
During the clinic for the church I had another one of those guided moments… there is a deaf girl in church who is particularly fond of me. She can communicate very little but has a smile that seems to tell all! I was doing triage for a very brief shift (thank goodness!) and this girl came in with her mom. Their story broke my heart. Her mom took her to the Hospital a year ago (she was 13 at the time) because she was nauseous & weak. They discovered she had been raped & was pregnant. Because she is unable to communicate there is no way to know what happened or how many times it happened. She carried the baby for 3 months and then miscarried. The girl wasn’t able to participate in the conversation but it was clear she understood what we were talking about & the way she cling to me when I hugged her told me she understood that I loved her regardless of what had happened. I’ve shared many heart breaking stories on my blog & some may think I’m starting to become hardened to it… I’m not. My heart has been broken more times these past few months than I care to admit but how I deal with it has changed… I am powerless to do anything without God’s direction. Each time something like this happens I give it to God & ask Him to show me what I can do to help… sometimes there is something I can do (like with Wilkenson) but often there is nothing and I need to trust that He’ll use someone else. It’s not me becoming hard, it’s me becoming obedient.
Here are some other pictures of Theodad (Enock’s son) getting his 6th finger removed:
And, of course, the team spent as much time as possible playing with the kids at H2H. Here is Dr. Ross & his daughter, Kate, singing “Singing in the Rain” with the kids.
And they quickly learned that there is NO down time at H2H!