Day 2 – we headed to the hospital this morning, excited to see everyone again. We placed our supplies in the ICU area and went off to find staff we knew from previous trips. We rounded with the doctors, which is always nice. They go out of their way to slow down a bit and the rounds become a combination of several different languages, depending on the group that has assembled.
I’m not a fan of this setup usually, as it’s a little strange to sit in front of a patient and talk about the patient. It’s not like America in that the patients and their families do not question anything. They are not really involved. We spend so much time focusing on creating patient-centered care and service in the States, that this process seems wrong.
There were over 40 patients in the hospital today, with an additional 10 in Urgence and 8 in the ICU. It was not a clinic day, so we could get adjusted without being overwhelmed.
This is the first METI team that includes a physical therapist. Logan paired with our long-time friend Dimitrie. Dimitrie has been classified as a PT for over 2 years at the hospital and is solely trained by Internet research, books and volunteers that come down and work with him. PT is so important here in Haiti and at St. Luc’s. Uncontrolled hypertension in Haiti is as common as Dunkin Donuts in Massachusetts! It’s everywhere. Hypertension leads to stroke and there is no mechanism to deal with the deficit, no medication administration to improve outcome. The patient dies or they go home with their family. We are working with St. Luc’s to be more aggressive and create an inpatient treatment plan from triage through out-patient follow-up. It’s the only way to help get these patients back to a similar way of life.
Christine, our Emergency room PA, saw patients clinically and assisted with some classroom and practical training. This is Christine’s second time here in Port-au-Prince (PAP), and she sponsors a 9 yr old at the orphanage.
We completed our training, which went better than it sometimes does. The nurses and doctors were really engaged and involved. They asked questions and we talked about specific cases that the hospital had seen. Day one for the doctors was a discussion about decision-making for airway management. We facilitated a conversation about critical thinking and preparation. We then educated the nurses on how to BVM a patient and assist the doctors with airway management.
After completing the training, we were all tired. It was only 3 classes over 5 hours but in the 100-degree heat with 80% humidity….. It was….. I can’t think of the word in any language.
Teaching for translation is exhausting. There’s a certain way to use pauses in conversation and it’s not easy. We use French, Creole and sometimes Spanish to communicate. Switching back and forth among languages can be hard on the brain.
We left the hospital and went straight to the orphanage. Christine reunited with Schlaiden, the 9-year-old boy she sponsors. He ran to her, calling her name. It was really cute and touching. They played and hung out for a while. She brought him a RedSox hat and he wore it with great pride.
Gibson brought soccer balls (futballs) and an American football, with a pump. Kids of all ages quickly ditched their small ball and a full-blown soccer match broke out. Logan taught a few 8- and 9-year-olds how to throw a football, and as the time passed, our worries and concerns gradually left the forefront of our thoughts.
These kids at the orphanage smile. They recognize the beauty of the outdoors, even if it is behind walls. They know the sun and the torrential rains, they know the smell of diesel and the smog created by the factories. They know how to run and fall and skin their knees. They know not everyone can win every time.
When we had to leave, the kids waved goodbye and hugged us like we mattered. This may be the third world, but perhaps we should incorporate some of its elements into our world.