Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bad Brains and Broken Bones

  This has been an amazingly uneventful weekend considering how crazy last week and the weekend preceding it was. I believe God kindly answered our prayers for a little break from the more serious emergency cases that are brought into the clinic during off hours. The whole Saturday and Sunday not a single new patient was packed in on a cot.
  Friday the 20th I came back from buying beans in the local market to find a young man who had been staying at the clinic for a few days had just taken a turn for the worse. He seemed to be having complications of typhoid fever which had spiralled to the point of delirium and a severely altered mental status. The nurses felt like he really needed to be transferred out to town. Also waiting at the clinic was an elderly man who had apparently fractured both bones in his forearm. He kept up a cheerful attitude as I splinted his arm despite his obvious extreme pain. We made plans to transfer both of these patients to the hospital in Pètit Goâve as soon we could.
  After tying a tarp over the back of the utv because of the threatening  rain clouds we loaded both patients up with one family member apiece and proceeded to lurch down down the rocky trail. Upon arrival at the hospital both patients were checked in and an x-ray was ordered for the man with the broken arm. Of course we had to wait for the x-ray tech to show up from his house, but never mind that because the x-ray actually was completed successfully and revealed both the radius and ulna bones cleanly broken midshaft. Petit Goave doesn't have orthopedic capabilities most of the time so they sent for an ambulance to transfer him to Port au Prince. Let me clarify that the standard Haitian ambulance is little more than a Toyota landcruiser with a stretcher in the back and a chauffeur to drive it. A far cry from the advanced ER on wheels that I have been used to dealing with in the states. Anyway, I got the old fellow (still grinning from ear to ear despite his stressed out, worried looking wife ) sent on his way and was happy to receive a mostly unintelligible phone call from him the next day reporting that he was on his way home and had been taken care of. Its always a relief to find that a patient has actually been seen and cared for at a receiving hospital since so many times they never seem to find the help they need.
Last night a 24 week pregnant lady was brought in who was having a few contractions and seemed to be planning on delivering her baby prematurely. Thankfully after some medicine and a night of rest the crisis seemed to have passed.
  It is easy to start feeling depressed when one is surrounded by such a seemingly endless river of needs and requests. So much pain, sorrow, and heartache that people bring our way in the hope that we will be able to help cure it. It is a constant fight to keep in mind that God is still in control and has a plan for Haiti and the rest of the world. He has not left us alone though, and He sends us  reminders daily that he's still here by our side through whatever may come our way. He's still victorious!


   ~Hans




Note: this post was written Monday night but due to technical difficulties was not posted till Thursday