My wife, Lynn, has been with me here in Haiti. She often travels with me at our expense to program areas where we are working. She takes photos, writes stories about our work and encourages our volunteer, local staff and partners. I’m always glad when Lynn joins me.
When Lynn and I were in Leogane, she slipped and fell in a puddle of water left from a rainstorm that had occurred the previous night. When she landed, it was clear that she had broken a bone in her upper arm.
In some ways, if you are injured, there’s no better place to be than with a disaster team. As Lynn lay in the puddle, Lisa Torraca, an emergency-room physician, did an immediate assessment. Donnie Woodyard, our country director and a senior paramedic, started an IV and went to find pain relievers. Several nurses offered help.
While Lynn had great initial care, finding an x-ray machine in Haiti was a different challenge. There are only a few working x-ray machines in the country. Donnie knew that one of these machines is at the Double Harvest Hospital, a partner with whom we had worked with after the earthquake. We called the hospital director, who arranged for an x-ray technician to wait for Lynn to come.
Leogane is only about 30 miles from the Double Harvest Hospital, but to get there, we had to drive through Port-au-Prince. Three hours later, over an incredibly bumpy road and through terrible traffic, we arrived at Double Harvest Hospital.
As we walked into the hospital grounds, we were greeted by a team of orthopedic surgeons who were waiting for patients to come. One of the surgeons came up and offered to help. We learned that he was from Grand Rapids, Michigan, 30 miles away from where Lynn grew up. Jokingly, I offered to show him my insurance card. He laughed and said that there would be no charge for his services.
Three x-rays later, we learned that Lynn does indeed have fractures in her upper arm. The surgeon told her that she could remain in Haiti for several more days and then should see an orthopedic surgeon when we return home. He gave Lynn medicine to help with the pain.
So, we continue on with our work here. Lynn is surrounded by the advice and care of our medical volunteers.
As Lynn reflects on her experience and copes with the pain, she is aware of the thousands of people who were seriously injured in the earthquake here in Por-au-Prince—people who did not have ER physicians and paramedics there within minutes, who were trapped and in great pain, who did not receive care for hours or sometimes days.
We are so grateful for our volunteer medical teams. They have been such a help to Lynn. They have been a similar help to thousands of Haitian people over the past weeks. The Haitians we have met are courageous and strong. The road ahead of them is long and difficult. Our medical volunteers will be with them along that road, demonstrating Christ’s love in the medical care they provide and the compassion and grace they show to those they help each day.