Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world and the poorest place in the Caribbean is Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
On January 12, 2010, Port-au-Prince sustained an earthquake of 7.0 and had 230,000 deaths as a result.
In October 2013, I decided to be part of a team and to lead a Medical Mission trip there. I had no idea of the condition that these beautiful people endured.
I saw hunger, thirst, homelessness, devastation, and sickness. By some standards, one would even consider hopeless, but no, I found people like you and me with sick babies and sick bodies who were desperate for help.
Medical needs many. My team treated malaria, worms, rashes, lesions, sexually transmitted diseases, and hypertension in even the very young. This is just to name a few.
In October 2013, my team treated approximately 900 patients in five days. The patients ranged in age from six days old to seventy years old. In May of this year, my team treated approximately 600 patients in three days. We dispensed over 1500 medications to these beautiful, kind, and humble people.
On our recent trip in May, we saw a very young pregnant woman. She was nine months pregnant and in active labor. This was her first pregnancy and she was unprepared for the delivery process, and she was unaware of the critical urgency of her situation. Most of these women deliver at home, but she came to our open, free clinic. She walked to the clinic with an extremely high blood pressure and very high fever. This was a critical situation which required immediate hospitalization and most likely a Cesarean section. Although our clinic was not equipped to deliver the baby, we guided the pregnant woman and her family to a hospital, and made them aware of the urgency of the situation. Had our clinic not been there, the outcome may have been grave.
We are there not only to treat but educate the people and often to facilitate and direct more invasive care.
Rewarding? Yes, especially when we saw patients happy and thriving that we had seen in October 2013. As a medical professional, I don’t want to put a Band-Aid on their condition but to make them better. So seeing patients return to the clinic in need of more care; blood pressure medications, anti-inflammatories, diabetes medications and even medication to reduce a fever, was exceptionally rewarding.
Prior to Haiti, I took many things for granted. No more. Haiti has changed me and changed my life.