HAH faces another crisis after finishing a record-breaking month of surgical case volume

two nurses smiling while celebrating Nurses Day

Before May 2023, our record number of surgeries in a month was 244 cases. That was August 2021 after a major earthquake struck the island, and we worked day and night taking care of major trauma, mostly orthopedic injuries.  Since then, our volume has remained high despite being challenged by many crises.


Dr. Jimmy Joseph, HAH general surgeon

Last month we set a new record of over 270 cases. As a point of comparison, we had 436 cases for the entire year in 2017.

The new record is largely attributed to the general surgery service provided by Dr. Jimmy, our full-time general surgeon, and Dr. Richard Spady, who visited us from Indiana for two weeks. While we usually ask for some economic collaboration from patients, in the interest of maximizing Dr. Spady’s time, we decided to offer completely free general surgery for two weeks.

two doctors doing surgery

Dr. Richard Spady doing some general surgery with his son Conor who is nearly finished with his one-year global orthopedics fellowship at HAH

two doctors in the operating room

Dr. Conor operating a femur fracture with Haitian residents from the state hospital who do rotations with us

Due to all of the insecurity around us, many times people cannot safely come to our hospital. They get discouraged and sometimes don’t even try. We had no idea what would happen even if we made the surgeries free. But the turnout was impressive. It was not only a busy time for our OR staff but for every worker at the hospital, including our lab, x-ray department, floor nurses, laundry and kitchen staff. We learned a lot about our strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately, it was a morale booster for everyone. Some of our staff were also able to take advantage of the program. Elective circumcision was a particularly popular offering, which did put some of our staff members out of commission for a few days.

Then, on Tuesday, May 30, at 10:30am, we were startled by machine gun fire adjacent to our compound. Hearing distant machine gun fire is not uncommon, but this was alarmingly close. Soon it escalated into what sounded like the grand finale of a 4th of July fireworks show. The uprising was sparked by the police killing some heavily armed individuals down the street.

The fighting has continued on and off for the last few days. This has made it difficult and often impossible for staff to come and go, discharge patients, and source food, fuel and other resources outside of our gates. Some staff are risking their lives to get here, others are waiting it out, and some stay here and work double shifts and multiple days back to back. Everyone is pitching in and doing what they can despite fatigue and frazzled nerves. On our campus, we remain safe, but it has been difficult for all of us to concentrate and be efficient in our work. Elective cases are on hold, and very few patients can come for clinic visits. Hopefully, things will calm down soon.

nurses on a stage with people sitting in the audience

Nurses Day church service celebration on May 14

two nurses smiling while celebrating Nurses Day

Nurses Day celebration on May 14

We are facing many challenges, but despite them all, we realize more than ever how much we have to be thankful for. Almost every day, there are enough surprising, miraculous, and unfortunately tragic events to merit some updates for friends, family, and supporters. So much is happening, and a lot of it is truly amazing. With renewed motivation, regular updates will become more of a reality!

child in a hospital bed gives a thumbs up

Another happy patient waking up from anesthesia



Hi there 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive Haiti Bones posts in your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read our [link]privacy policy[/link] for more info.