| Apr 12, 2010
Fred returned to Haiti last week and reported a very eventful clinic today. It was the first day the newly-arrived Medical Teams International team had operated solo. They got there last week and had an orientation with the outgoing team on Friday when they conducted a joint clinic with them.
The rainy season has started in Haiti, bringing misery to the hundreds of thousands of people living in real and makeshift tents. The daily downpours are also making it very difficult to conduct the mobile clinics because of access and location problems due to mud and high water.
Medical Teams International has been running a weekly clinic to the village of Cazal, but when the team got there Monday, the normal clinic site was unusable due to mud. The team quickly found an alternate location in a church that fortunately was undamaged by the earthquake.
But just after the clinic began, a community resident came in frantically seeking assistance for their elderly father who was vomiting and unable to get to the clinic.
Dr. Daniel Su from Blaine, Wa., responded with Fred and two paramedics, Ron Morgan from Tigard, Or., and Geoff Goodman from Portland, Or. When they got to the house, they found a 70-year-old man unconscious and totally unresponsive in a tent.
“It was fortunate we had the two paramedics,” Fred said after watching them go into action stabilizing the patient and getting him on a backboard and into Medical Teams International’s Land Cruiser (which they turned into a makeshift ambulance).
The patient was first taken to the Cuban Hospital, which was closest, but their intensive care unit had been damaged by the rains and was closed. The team then took the patient to the newly-constructed MSF hospital in Leogane where he was admitted in stable condition and breathing on his own.
After a brief look around the innovative tent hospital, the team returned to the car, only to find a young woman having a baby on the gravel parking lot right in front of the vehicle. The mother and baby were taken to the MSF triage area and admitted there. The Medical Teams International team finally returned to Cazal, were they uneventfully saw about 150 more patients.
Fred said daily heavy rains have made it very difficult to get to the rural villages where Medical Teams International is offering health care in the Leogane area. Sites where the doctors, nurses and medics can give care in the dry and patients won’t have to stand in the rain to wait, will be difficult find. Not many buildings are still standing after the earthquake.
Fortunately, the earthquake-survivor house that Medical Teams International rented in Leogane is now completed and the team is occupying it, so team members are not fighting the downpours in leaky tents. Friends of ours in other organizations still at the campground, reported serious flooding problems there which damaged many of their possessions. Some people have moved into the warehouse where our pharmacy is based and our medicines are stored to keep them out of the rain.
I leave tomorrow and will arrive in Haiti Wednesday to volunteer with Fred for another month.