To recap our second day in Haiti at the Double Harvest Mission: It wouldn’t be another day in Haiti without another delivery! Yes today, Susan Kaminski the OB specialist with us was busy once again. There was another emergent delivery of an infant in the back of a pickup truck. The team at Double Harvest was tremendous in their efforts to stabilize and resuscitate this baby despite some complications at the time of birth. These issues necessitated transfer of the baby to the University of Miami facility near the airport. Despite the outstanding efforts of our team to initially resuscitate this baby and care for her mother we sadly learned the following morning that the baby did not survive.
The remainder of the day was emotionally challenging since the care of this child had consumed so much of the team’s energy and focus. However we were able to get back on pace to the primary duties here at Double Harvest.
We have been met with significant challenges over the course of the last 48 hours regarding our power supply. Our generators have been down on numerous occasions and we had several intermittent power surges which have made it difficult for us to have reliable and sustainable capacity within the operating room.
A bright spot: We have continued to expand on our communication and networking with the local physicians as well as Partners In Health sponsored position in Haiti.
It would seem a little bit by chance—and perhaps with some divine intervention—that we had a visit from two individuals from the Duke medical team who are stationed here at Cange as part of the Partners In Health team. They were arriving to transfer one of our patients with a cervical spine injury just at the exact moment we were charged with two additional infants. It turns out that one of the Duke team was a pediatric emergency room specialist with us for the delivery of a new baby and able to care for a three day old infant who presented with signs and symptoms consistent with meningitis. Some have referred to them as “the angels” who were brought here to assist us at such a critical time. It is these continual events that we encounter that we don’t always have an explanation for.
After a wonderful meal prepared by our chef Richard, the team had a chance to reflect on the day and the challenges it presented, only to be faced yet again with another urgent situation. Though the University of Miami team and Dr. Bob (our general surgeon) departed earlier in the day we still had three general surgical patients in our ICU. As it turns out one of the gentleman had developed complications with bleeding though our facility has no blood bank or immediate access to blood. Again our team members stepped forward. Dennis Gregory and Carole VanderPols donated blood and stabilized our patient who was able to get through the evening and is now looking much stronger.
To the members of Team #3 who left us, who we passed at the airport, they should know that Ben Jerry and Balonga are doing well. They are strong and recovering. This is in large part due to the efforts of our colleagues from Team #3.
Last but not least, I almost forgot to mention that at the start of our day I was able to travel to the airport and meet our additional nurses who joined us. Sarah Marshall, Marjorie Fournier, Amy Creswell and Larinda Marker hit the ground running. We were blessed immediately with Marjory’s years of experience. She was able to provide care for a mother during childbirth as well as helping to create a very organized system of communication between our different units.
The days seem to blend together here and at times it does seem difficult to know exactly where to begin when it comes to speaking to our friends and family on the blog. But rest assured, we are all safe, healthy, and we look forward to being back with our families. We know we are making a difference patient-by-patient and day-by-day. Our team has witnessed the continued fruits of the efforts of the teams before us. And we hope through the blog that those teams to follow us will see how the work we are currently doing here is making a difference as well.
Terrence J. Endres, M.D.