Surgery update 2020 – Jack Hale, MD
FOH is in its 11th year doing surgery in Haiti. We are partnered with Double Harvest in Croix des Bouquets, a suburb of Port au Prince. DH is a Baptist group from Oberlin, OH. There is a school, church, farm and three modern surgical rooms. Over the years the compound has been transformed into a lush oasis.
About 18 or so staff go on week long trips a month after the medical clinics. Patients are referred by clinics and DH patients are also helped. Most common procedures are for breast lesions, hernias, hydroceles and hysterectomies. Critical injuries often walk in. About 60 are helped each trip. Referrals from clinics don’t always work smoothly due to poor communications in the mountains. It is improving slowly.
Volunteers pay their own way and a per diem which is sent to DH.
Much preparation is needed before a trip. Accommodations are comfortable with AC, beds and showers and sometimes warm water! This enables those who find it difficult to endure the hardships of the medical clinics come. It also helps recovery for the next long day of work.
A few reflections from travelers are listed below.
Dr. Jack wrote this in 2012: One of my favorite stories is that of a woman we saw in Montalais, which is the most remote mountain town to which FoH travels. It is a 9 mile mountainous hike from the main road. The lady came to Montalais because of a large benign tumor hanging from her axilla (armpit). It weighed 20 to 25 pounds. She had to tuck it in her dress and strap it to her chest just to be able to walk and function at home. FoH got her to Double Harvest to be seen by the surgical team. Our general surgeon excised the mass. The following morning at 7:30 am the patient was dressed and ready to travel home. She could not hold her arm at her side due to the pain of the 6 inch incision, but she had a smile from ear to ear. Her life was going to be better and she hugged us all as she walked out the door.
Kristi Rasmussen Sarosiek wrote this in April 2015: I am sitting outside this evening listening to a prayer service held for the patients and their families here at Double Harvest Clinic/Surgery Center. Their voices are heard in beautiful song and reverent sermon. They are kneeling outside on concrete with blankets they've brought with them (along with pots of food to feed their family members as they recover) to await tomorrow. Some will receive devastating news and others will receive a new lease on life. I thank God that he brought me here to learn, help, appreciate what I have, and what I have to offer. Life is good and I am blessed.
Dr. Amit Tandon wrote in April 2015: Truly amazing people and team that help so many people. Special thanks to Mathew Joseph Thompson who invited me on this trip and showed me the ropes. Matt and I did 61 eyes and the team will do well over 100 surgeries. (The eye procedures included cataracts, corneal transplants, pterygiums)