Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Grateful Patients Receive Care in Haiti

The morning session started at 7:30 a.m. at the Hanger clinic where patients with scheduled appointments returned to be fitted with their prosthesis. At this time proper fit and comfort of the prosthesis is assessed and adjustments are made.

If fitting is acceptable physical therapy is initiated, with patients wearing their prosthesis. Therapy includes but is not exclusive to gait training with crutches and parallel bars, but also muscle conditioning. At the end of the session instructions are given for exercises to be done at home. We had approximately 17 patients in the morning session that went from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

During this time we had a 4-year-old boy who kept saying "I can walk, I can walk," as he reluctantly put his crutches aside and took his first two steps. Did he fall? Indeed he did, but he got himself up and took a few more steps until he was able to take as many steps as he needed to grab onto his mom's legs without falling.

During the afternoon we spent a few hours at L'Escale. L'Escale, if you remember is the location of the dormitories where the patients with amputations live while they await the completion of the construction of their prosthesis. Here they also initiate muscle conditioning and physical therapy. At L'Escale we evaluated, and did physical therapy on three patients. One was a 15-year-old girl with pelvic and femur fracture sustained in the earthquake.

Another, Mrs. T, is a woman in her mid-fifties with spinal cord injury at thoracic level (T5). She is now a paraplegic and requires much assistance in caring for herself as well as specific directions on how to move herself about in bed and to and from her wheelchair. Sooner rather than later Mrs. T will require transfer to a temporary rehab center for further rehabilitation. This will be a challenge as the only one potential institution has no available resources. Through discussion with the interpreter from the patient and her family, Mrs. T was apparently sent to an other facility for care but rerouted herself to Hôpital Albert Schweitzer(HAS) because they felt care at HAS would be much better, than anywhere else.

The third patient, a 69-year-old woman suffered a right-sided stroke, with some expressive aphasia (difficulty speaking). After physical therapy the patient's husband expressed his sincerest thanks to us by saying that he was glad that they came to HAS for care and wished that we could come and do exercises with his wife everyday.

Amongst the team we agreed that we would make this happen.

Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer, Joy Williams

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Changes and Challenges in Ghana

As the days progress, we continue our needs assessment of the emergency services and continue to evaluate skill sets and standardized procedures of the medical and nursing staff. We are amazed at the ingenuity, energy and dedication of the staff. They seem to do so much with so little, and so efficiently. We are identifying many similarities in our practices as well some major differences in training, standards and procedures.

The hospital lacks some very basic necessities. There is one EKG machine for the entire facility. Worse yet, is the fact that it is available less than 12 hours per day. There are no readily available airway adjuncts in most areas. Basic cardiac monitoring is nonexistent. Oxygen is a precious commodity. X-ray equipment lacks repairs for years. Trolleys (stretchers) are few and far between. Wheelchairs are craftily designed from plastic chairs.

We and those that will follow us from Project HOPE are committed to helping Tema General strengthen its weaknesses and move forward. There are certainly many stumbling blocks along the way, including lack of resources, fear of change, cultural differences, and motivational factors at all levels. We feel that this is a worthy and necessary challenge and will forge ahead one day at a time, helping and providing support as we step forward.

Thanks for reading-Marley Gevanthor and Elise Chamberlain
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Emphasis on Early Prosthesis Fitting in Haiti

Haiti - Our day started at 4:30 AM..."O-Dark Thirty Hours" as my Operations friends at Project HOPE would say. And of course I had no choice in the matter. My alarm clock was the bronze breasted, red crested rooster crowing, the chickens cackling and the goats bleating. “What to do, work is awaiting, might as well get up and get an early start, there is much to be done.”

The morning began with an early conference at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer’s (HAS) La Bibliothèque with a clinical presentation by Jay (and his team), the senior Prosthetics Technician on loan to HAS from Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc.

It was an excellent professional continuing medical education presentation (which translates to capacity building for our Haitian staff members) stressing the importance of patients being fitted for their prosthesis as early as possible, thereby encouraging self confidence, improving self image and increasing mobility. We all re-learned an important lesson learned in rehabilitating patients. “The EARLY return to everyday activities is vital in expediting the integration into the population with decreased stigmatization often experienced by a handicapped person.”

I am so happy to be a Project HOPE volunteer contributing to the early and modern rehabilitation and reintegration of patients in Haiti society. You need to be here to see the daily difference we’re making in people’s lives…one patient at a time.

At the morning conference, Mr. “M”, a patient and recipient of bilateral above the knee (ATK) prosthetics, expressed his sincerest appreciation by saying that his life had changed significantly. Patient “M” said: “I no longer have a life in a wheel chair. Without my legs and being stuck in a wheel chair, my life was pretty much over…it was like living in a corner with much activity going on around me, but no one seeing or hearing me…to everyone around me I pretty much didn't exist because I was disabled. Now I have a life, I have legs, I can walk just like everyone else…I can do what everyone else is able to do." (Tears in my eyes when I see him out there walking, laughing… truly joyous moments!) One patient like Mr. “M” is sufficient compensation for my volunteer activities and enough to make me do it again year after year.

I’ve learned that having a disability, such as an amputation, in the country of Haiti, culturally subjects a person to stigmatization, ridicule and seclusion. “M” is very proud of his new legs and he is not afraid to show them off by playing soccer and now wearing what he has always desired most…a pair of long blue jeans! For thousands of individuals recently suffering from amputations as a result of the January 2010 earthquake, HAS is providing dramatic life changing alternatives to what otherwise would be a hopeless, depressing alternative.

Again, I am proud to be associated with Project HOPE’s partnership with HAS and Hanger, Inc., offering the first and currently only modern, well equipped and trained prosthetics lab and staff in Haiti, offering free rehabilitation and prosthetics to its citizens.

Today we had a visit from Mr. Ivan Sable, CPO, Chairman of the Hanger / Ivan R. Sabel Foundation and many members of his staff. Hanger members chatted with the Haitian prosthesis recipients, HAS staff and technicians and asked many questions, collecting ideas for resources needed to make the HAS Prosthetics Clinic better than it’s already become.

Thanks for reading-Joy Williams

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Volunteers Experience Controlled Chaos

Tema, Ghana -As well seasoned triage nurses in large, high volume hospitals in Washington State and California, Project HOPE volunteers, Elise and Marley walked in to the Out Patient Department today feeling confident and prepared to start their day working side by side with their host nation counterparts. It was stifling hot. The background noise was near deafening and certainly distracting. A mass of humanity awaited care.

It was agreed that Elise would work with and mentor Beatrice in the Pediatric Department. Marley would work in the adult section with Mary, another experienced senior nurse. Patients and families were in queues at registration, medical records, the vital sign stations, the interview areas and in every available chair and bench in the consultation area. Patients arrive by walk-in, private vehicle and ambulance. Many have been referred from other facilities and clinics. Our nursing hosts are masters of organization, multitasking and directing. There is a constant bombardment of questions, interruptions, and distractions of every conceivable nature.

Elise had barely been oriented when an infant she was assessing began to seize. The child’s skin was burning. In fact, the axillary temperature was 39.7 Centigrade, a significant fever. Elise instructed the mother and nurse while demonstrating the proper technique to protect and maintain the baby’s airway. She then calmly escorted the group to the acute care area for immediate evaluation and treatment. By 1400(2pm), 93 children had been triaged by Elise and Beatrice.

Our day concluded with an elderly patient being rolled in on a trolley by her sons and daughter. “Our mother is in a coma” they stated simply. Marley immediately got up to assess the patient. The patient was unresponsive. The patient’s skin was cold. The patient was not breathing. While the patient was being moved to the acute care area for a glucose check, Marley gently suggested that perhaps the physician should be summoned while she repositioned the airway and tried to find the pulse. Although our patient most likely had died prior to arrival, her treatment might have been much more aggressive in the United States.

One of Project HOPE’s goals on this mission is to help our fellow healthcare providers optimize their limited resources and to provide mentoring and support to improve care and outcomes in these very challenging conditions.

Thanks for reading-Marley Gevanthor and Elise Chamberlain

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Haitians Make Long Journey to Prosthetics Center

Haiti - This was a great day, about 40 patients were seen at the Hanger Prosthetics Center. The Center saw patients receiving their prosthesis and those that were being fitted for the first time, with ages ranging from 4 to 70 years.

Two of the patients seen today heard about the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) Hanger Prosthetics Center through word of mouth and hitched a ride from Port-au-Prince to HAS. This involved a long, long ride, typically about 3 hours in a car or truck through steep mountains and on much rugged pot-holed roads. At the end of the trip one can be very exhausted with bone jarred spines and kidneys!

As difficult and long as the journey by car and truck can be, one of the patients hitched himself on the back of a motor scooter to get to the center. I wonder how much longer and difficult this ride was? Mmm, I don't even want to think about it.

Despite their long journeys, these patients arrived at HAS with great anticipation and renewed hope. The excitement and joy expressed when they came through the cue and were measured for their new limbs was priceless. Their day was complete as there was no cost for the prosthesis and they were told that temporary accommodations would be made available for them during the waiting period while their prosthetics were being fabricated and physical therapy underway.

My role as the case manager for Project HOPE is evolving and is making a difference in patient care and flow as they are seen at the HAS/Hanger Prosthetics Center.

Thanks for reading-Joy Williams

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Need for Pre-hospital and Emergency Medical Protocols

It was only 9:30 a.m. as we walked into the Accident and Emergency Center located on the far end of Tema General Hospital (TGH) campus, but the air was thick with humidity. Seven of the eleven beds were already filled with patients that had come in over the previous days and additional patients lined the wooden benches waiting to be seen.

One of the patients, Joseph, a 35-year-old male who suffered an open fracture and dislocation of the left ankle, lay in the corner staring out the window, with a small black bible in his hand. When we went to talk to him, he greeted us warmly and explained that a metal bar had swung out and hit his leg while he worked three days ago. He had been taken to TGH where he received initial treatment including splinting and pain management. But, with no orthopedic surgeon on staff at TGH, Joseph was now awaiting transfer to the 37th Precinct Trauma Hospital in Accra, where he would receive the necessary definitive management that his injury required.

Unfortunately, Joseph's story is not unique. In a country where OSHA laws do not exist to protect workers, occupational injuries are a daily hazard in this port town. Health insurance is not offered through most employers in the region, so the patients themselves are burdened with the cost of their medical care including transfer to a higher level of care. As Dr. Charles Annan, the head of the Emergency and Accident Center at TGH explained, one of the area’s vital needs is appropriate pre-hospital protocols and proper trauma facility designation. Joseph's story highlights one of the many facets of pre-hospital and emergency medical protocols that the Project HOPE team is evaluating during our two week assessment of TGH.

Thanks for reading - Elise Chamberlain and Marley Gevanthor

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Physical Therapy Begins at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, Haiti

Joy Williams is a registered nurse from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and a four-time volunteer for Project HOPE , including serving on one of HOPE’s initial volunteer teams following the earthquake in Haiti. She has returned to Haiti to volunteer for HOPE over the next couple of months to initiate a care and transition program for the hundreds of prosthesis patients that were injured in the earthquake. Currently she is working at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles. Here is her first blog from the site.

Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) is a world class institution that has provided medical care for the people of Deschapelles. Since the earthquake, it has fast become the number one referral center for patients requiring prosthesis, due to trauma sustained in the January 12th earthquake At the same time, it continues to care for patients with other medical and non-medical needs.

I arrived at HAS on March 19th, here my role will be that of initiating a sustainable case management program for Project HOPE, that will assist with the care and transition of the hundreds of prosthesis patients that were injured in the earthquake. Presently, this is a challenge as so many of the patients and their family members are displaced. Many are living quite a distance from the hospital and have no means of getting back and forth.

To assist with this problem, HAS has provided dorms for these patients and one family member. This allows patients to be available for their prosthesis measuring and fitting, making and the initiation of therapy in the use and care of their new limb. Patients are typically discharged in about one week but of course this can vary depending on the individual patient and family needs. Those patients that were displaced in the earthquake with no homes to be discharged to are accommodated by HAS with a tent. This greatly decreases some of the stress that is experienced by patients, and their family members as to where to go upon discharge.

Hanger Foundation has also stepped up to help, generously and graciously donating a prosthesis center and complete lab of equipment at the hospital site. Hangar's volunteer prosthesis technician Jay and his team are on location making the much needed prosthesis for these patients.

Observing a 6-year-old boy receiving his new leg was refreshing. He could not wait to get off the chair and start walking. Although somewhat awkward at first, he was soon mastering the whole process. What joy. When it was time to remove his prosthesis for his journey, he did not want to do so and became very sad. He could not wear his prosthesis home because Mom had forgotten his needed shoes at home!

To assist with the rehabilitation process in Haiti, there is a demand for physical therapists. Haiti had only one unemployed physical therapist before the earthquake. Project HOPE is now supporting HAS in this effort, as well as many other necessary medical needs.

HOPE volunteer Claude Hillel, a Haitian born, Creole speaking PT trained in Canada, will be assisting HAS for approximately 11 weeks. He is one of only a few licensed/credentialed PTs in all of Haiti and one of three Creole speakers, making him invaluable in communicating with patients and family members. Claude will be delivering classic HOPE capacity building whereby he will be teaching, coaching, mentoring the local medical staff while jointly providing the much needed physical therapy for the patients.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Even With Minimal Resources, Emergency Preparation Possible

During our stay at Tema General Hospital (TGH) we have been afforded the opportunity to meet dozens of clinical employees. Time and again we have been impressed with the skill sets and forward thinking of these staff members given their limited resources.

One of these visionaries is Dr. Sylvia Deganus, head of the OB unit at TGH. We were fortunate enough to meet her as she passed through the hospital to pick up her mail, as she is on vacation for two weeks. While on vacation she has traveled to rural communities throughout the country to perform workshops for midwives on the importance of preparation for OB emergencies. Dr. Deganus teaches these skilled practitioners to prepare for emergencies by creating “emergency packs.” As Dr. Deganus noted “time is crucial” and “readiness during an emergency” is of the utmost importance.

Dr. Deganus has put her plan into action at TGH. In a country where the maternal mortality rate is 500 deaths to 100,000 live births and a hospital where 8,000 deliveries occur annually, she recognized the importance of swift and prepared action during maternal emergencies. Dr. Deganus was the driving force behind pre-made “emergency packs” in the maternity unit at TGH. Currently, three types of packs have been made; eclampsia, post-partum hemorrhage and ante-partum hemorrhage. These lunch-box sized, clear plastic boxes are filled with gloves, an IV catheter, tourniquet, bag of normal saline, and medications specific to the condition. Centrally located in the department the outside of each box is labeled with the contents.

As Julianne the lead OB nurse, explained she personally checks the boxes each morning to make sure all of the supplies are present. Written protocols for management of the various conditions and the responsibilities of each team member line the walls of the OB unit at TGH.

Even though evaluating maternal services was not the primary goal of this mission, by being acquainted with the different units at TGH we have found ideal practices in one unit that can be modeled throughout the facility. It is this type of emergency preparedness that Project HOPE hopes one day will be the standard throughout TGH.

Thanks for reading - Elise Chamberlain and Marley Gevanthor

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Sobering Day

Our day started on a somber note. As we approached the hospital for our first day of observation and integration into the staff of Tema General Hospital (TGH), an ambulance passed us and pulled up in front of the receiving area of the outpatient department. Since one of our focuses of this mission is to evaluate disaster response and emergency preparedness within the hospital, we stopped and introduced ourselves to the emergency technician that was cleaning and restocking the ambulance.

We had an interesting, informative discussion comparing our two countries’ disaster response and multi-casualty incident command system. Although Ghana is many years behind the U.S. in training and use of sophisticated equipment, they are striving to meet our standards of technology and education. This was a collaborative exchange with a meld of local pre-hospital providers, and our Project HOPE/Navy team.

The patient that was transported to TGH was a 10-day-old baby transferred from another facility. The baby was born prematurely at 32 weeks gestation. The EMTs escorted us to the consultation area where we observed the treatment and care of the baby. The parents waited quietly and patiently on a hard wooden bench outside the area. The baby was tiny, jaundiced, and fighting for life. The physician and nurses were quiet, solemn and calm in their approach. The baby succumbed after a few hours.

It was a sobering sight. Life is hard and cruel here in Ghana. Death often comes early and is not unexpected. Resources are limited. Yet, the people are strong and resilient and our mission could not be more clear. Our role here is to help build emergency room capacity at the facility, to make a real difference and assist in bettering these kinds of outcomes.

Thanks for reading-Marley and Elise

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Volunteers Get Acquainted With Tema General Hospital in Ghana

As we drove through the gates of Tema General Hospital (TGH) we were amazed with the vast campus before us. Tema, is located approximately 30km from the capital city of Accra. TGH is a 200 bed hospital that serves a catchment area of 400,000 residents. The campus spreads over 10 acres and includes numerous buildings that house both inpatient and outpatient services.

Our first day was spent introducing our team of three Project HOPE volunteers and Lieutenant Kazmer Meszaros of the U.S. Navy, to the staff of TGH. We were welcomed with open arms into the hospital by Ms. Magdalene Ayettey, the director of nursing services, Ms. Patience Mamattah, the hospital administrator, and Dr. Charity Sarpong, the medical superintendent.

As we toured the facility we were overwhelmed with the sheer number of patients waiting to see one of the various providers. TGH sees over 500 adults in their outpatient department daily, as well as over 70 children in their outpatient pediatric department. Compounding these numbers was the amazing sight of over 150 newborns and their mothers waiting to see the midwives for their 2 week well baby check. The mothers were striking in their traditional white and black dresses, which we were told symbolizes their joy and thanks for a healthy delivery. The babies looked content nursing and amazingly not a cry was heard.

Tomorrow we look forward to meeting our emergency department counterparts at TGH and beginning our assessment of TGH’s emergency response capabilities, mass casualty operations, and health care provider skill sets.

Thanks for reading--Elise Chamberlain and Marley Gevanthor

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Project HOPE Volunteers Now in Ghana

While volunteers continue work in Haiti, three more Project HOPE volunteers began a health education mission on the other side of the world in Tema, Ghana. Three emergency room specialists are volunteering at Tema General Hospital from March 13 -27. The team is focusing on emergency care and education and is providing coaching, teaching and mentoring to local emergency room care providers. Training will include disaster management, mass casualty operations, health care provider skill set evaluations and emergency room protocols.

The HOPE volunteer team in Ghana is supporting the United States Navy Africa Partnership Station 2010 program.

Meet the Project HOPE volunteers in Ghana

Robert Andrews, M.D., from Alabama Veteran's Health Care System in Montgomery, Alabama, is an emergency room physician with 28 years of experience. He is a first-time volunteer for Project HOPE.

Elise Chamberlain from St. Francis Hospital, Federal Way, Washington, is a public health and emergency room nurse. Last summer, she served as a nurse educator for Project HOPE onboard the USNS Comfort.

Marley Gevanthor, a nurse with 28 years of experience from San Francisco General Hospital in San Francisco, California is a five-time HOPE volunteer. She has volunteered for HOPE all over the world including Belize, Guatemala and Panama onboard the USNS Comfort, Papua New Guinea and Micronesia onboard the USNS Mercy and Liberia and Ghana onboard the USS Swift.

Check back for updates on Robert, Elise and Marley as they continue their work in Ghana.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't Forget About the Children

HOPE's Haiti Representative, Charles Prospere is busy working to establish health programs in Haiti that will not only provide long-term care to those with earthquake-related injuries, but also educate physical rehabilitation health care providers so that they may better serve their communities. Prospere, who is a Haitian American, took some time out from his work to visit his village after the earthquake. This is his personal account:
I could not believe my sight. Here was Gerard, the once fastest and strongest man in our village of 200. I found him sitting in front of his half-destroyed house, his eyes were closed, his look stoic, his mind was still under the ruble, where rescuers, digging with their bare hands, found him two days after the earthquake.

Gerard wanted to live. He lost his legs some months before the monster earthquake which tried to kill him. But just recently, and with the little saving he had, he bought himself a pair of prosthetic legs.

It was hard to see a man whose livelihood always depended on manual labor, but... before I could even finish my thought, Gerard stood fast, looked at me straight in the eyes and said,

“I don't want your pity or your mercy, I just want you to remember where you came from, and many of us, many of those you cannot see right now, need you... Do not dare forgetting about them."

Before he walked away to never look back, he left me with this:

“Charles, tell Project HOPE do not forget about these children. Me, I'm fine, I'm a survivor, and I can make it with or without legs. Those kids, and many other Haitians, will see hell on earth soon. So go ahead, and tell them never forget about the others."

Thanks for Reading - Charles

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Physical Rehab Volunteers Arrive in Haiti

On March 11, 2010 Project HOPE volunteers Lisa Jane Evans from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Occupational Therapist and Kristin Parlman, MGH Physical Therapist, arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for a two-week assignment that will allow further assessing of the rehabilitation need of Haitian crush victims and amputees affected by the earthquake of January 12, 2010. They will be working at Diquini Hospital, a site selected by the HOPE Assessment team that traveled to Haiti earlier this month.

Lisa and Kristin spent their first day getting oriented with HOPE’s Haiti Representative, Charles Prospere. Prospere, a Haitian American, holds a doctorate of public policy and administration and has extensive experience in non-profit work within Haiti. He was hired by Project HOPE to help HOPE establish programs that will not only provide long-term care to those with earthquake-related injuries, but also educate physical rehabilitation health care providers so that they may better serve their communities.

Here is his report from Lisa's and Kristin's first day in Haiti:

Soon after their arrival, the volunteers were given a tour of the devastated capital and were briefed about the historical and cultural context of Haiti to enrich their service.

We then made a quick visit to Diquini Hospital, where the volunteers were received by Dr. Lesly Ed Archer, the General Director of the institution. Their mission will officially start tomorrow (March 12) when they will meet with our operational counterparts Andrew Haglund, Dr. Scott Nelson and Caryn from Handicapped International.

Jane and Kristin also had another mission for the Diquini tour; they wanted to meet with Sebastian, an 8-year-old boy they learned about through the Project HOPE Assessment team. Sebastian, who lost both his mother and father during the earthquake and suffered an amputation as a result of his own injuries has become an international figure, representing the face of Haiti.

Sebastian is very lovable and he invited the team to see where he has been living since the earthquake. Sebastian has been adopted by his 23 year old aunt – a mother of four and unemployed.

Sebastian is smiling now, asking for a big truck and a Spiderman. But the future is uncertain – for him and for Haiti. It will take many years and continuing international support – in the form of funds, supplies and specialized health worker volunteers – to ensure that all victims of the earthquake, like Sebastian, have a full recovery and a productive future.

While the emergency response is now coming to an end, the work for a full recovery has just begun.

Thanks for Reading - Charles

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More on Johnny D

Johnny D Gets a Name

A few of the Project HOPE staff and volunteers were able to make a visit to the facility where Johnny D—the boy without a name-- was transferred after his stay aboard the USNS Comfort.

Johnny first became known to the staff at Mission of Hope when he was dropped anonymously not long after the January 12 earthquake—his condition appalling and his identity unknown.

He was immediately transferred to the USNS Comfort where Project HOPE volunteers and Navy medical staff cared for him for about a month, removing a tumor that had destroyed his right eye and grafting skin from his leg to cover the exposed area.

Last week he was discharged back to Mission of Hope, a spacious and well-maintained campus in the countryside outside of Port-au-Prince, which houses a school, hospital and small orphanage.

On normal days, about 1300 children attend classes at the mission. These days, the classrooms have become homes for about 60 orphans and their “moms,” Haitian women hired to take care of them. Project HOPE visitors were thrilled to visit the classroom where Johnny now lives with two other children and the three loving moms who share in their upbringing. Bright posters cover the wall. Toys and clothes are piled neatly at the foot of each child’s bed. And there are plenty of hugs to go around.

Johnny is receiving medical care at the mission’s medical facility, currently being partially staffed by volunteer teams from Austin Medical Relief for Haiti, who have been on one-week rotations since the earthquake. On the day of the Project HOPE visit, Johnny’s skin graft was derided. An infection threatened the new eye flap, which has been through three such procedures since his arrival. Doctors are discussing the possibility of a second graft.

Despite the sedatives he was under this day, Johnny’s bright smile still lit up the room and he stretched out his tiny arm to all in the room for his hallmark fist bump.

Most importantly, Johnny Doe finally has a name: Job, after a biblical figure who was tested by God, found to be true and rewarded beyond his wildest dreams.

Story and photos by photojournalist and HOPE volunteer, Allison Shelley.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Care and Education Continue at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer

HOPE Volunteer Medical Director Dr. Neelakantan Sunder, a Massachusetts General Hospital Anesthesiologist continues his report on HOPE’s work at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschapelles, Haiti.

Project HOPE volunteer Anne Borden, an RN from MGH, spent the day with the HAS director of nursing and nurse educator. Ms Borden provided assistance, direct patient care and provided nursing leadership, coaching and mentoring. She also taught several nursing education sessions on moving patients with cervical spine fractures and answered questions regarding patients with congestive heart failure and symptoms. The HAS nursing staff really enjoyed the interaction and asked good thoughtful questions.

Dr. Rosemary Duda, Surgical Oncologist from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts and I spent the day in the operating room with performing five surgical procedures. The HOPE Operating Team continues to perform numerous amputation revisions, clean infected limbs and wounds from prior surgeries, etc. The workload for these types of “cleanup” surgeries will last for several months.

HAS began the only prosthetic technician school in Haiti, graduating its first class of technicians just before the 12 Jan 10 earthquake. We have been working closely with the trained prosthetics/rehabilitation staff at the hospital, turning freshly operated patients over to their care. For amputations, post surgery care is very important. Proper wrapping of the amputation helps post surgery patients form a limb to accept a properly fitted prosthetic and prevents additional surgeries and unnecessary limb length reductions. HAS started measuring, fitting and rehabbing prosthetic fit patients from its brand new laboratory donated by Hanger in mid-January 2010.

I also had the opportunity to interact with the HAS anesthetist and anesthesiologist staff and provided them with quick clinical updates, techniques, review of anesthetic agents, etc.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Update on "Johnny D"

While continuing her volunteer work on shore in Haiti, Project HOPE volunteer Carrie Alexander tracked down, "Johnny D", one of the Comfort's most inspiring young patients. Carrie helped care for the young orphan during his treatment on the floating hosptial ship. She was thrilled to be able to check up on him at his new care facility at the Mission of Hope in Haiti. Read Carrie's update
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

HOPE Volunteers and Staff Visit Sacred Heart Hospital in Milot

A small team of Project HOPE representatives spent the day the small town of Milot on the fertile northern coast of Haiti to visit Sacred Heart Hospital-- founded in 1986 by Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Montreal, and run by the Center for the Rural Development of Milot (CRUDEM) foundation.

The town, which lies in the shadow of the famous Laferriere Citadel, was only mildly affected by the January 12 earthquake. Residents pulled together and it has become a haven for Port-au-Prince residents trying to find medical care. Within days of the quake, Milot’s mayor sent busses to the capitol to retrieve victims, who were transferred back to the town for medical care. Local residents are housing many of the recuperating patients and their families.

CRUDEM itself quickly expanded the capacity of the original 64-bed hospital building, adding a field hospital in the town’s elementary school yard. The facility consists of seven large Temper tents, now caring for 290 patients.

Project HOPE stepped in on January 24 to deliver $1 million worth of medical equipment—including a DynGlobal solar powered water purifier and Phillips mobile X-ray equipment and cardiac monitors. Today’s Project HOPE team was able to see this important gear in action, as well as tour the facilities to scout for future volunteer opportunities.

The group also included Stephan Krause, a documentary filmmaker representing Siemens, which has donated $4 million worth of medical supplies and equipment to the Basrah Children’s Hospital in Iraq, which was equipped in part by Project HOPE.

Because patients from the USNS Comfort had also been transferred to this hospital by helicopter for follow up care, several were familiar to the delegation. These included patient Junior Sainsmyer, a young engineer from Port-au-Prince, who called out to the team as they passed by his cot. He proudly held up his below-the-knee X-ray, taken on the Comfort, which revealed a handful of pins and other hardware embedded in both ankles. A small cast covered one foot and the other he flexed back and forth to demonstrate his mobility. “Thank you, thank you!” he said, a huge smile covering his face.

Photos and story by HOPE volunteers photo journalist Allison Shelley and nurse Carrie Alexander.
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