How to Help
We would like to take a “petite pause” to share our heartfelt gratitude with each of you who have reached out to express your love and concern–for the Haitian people, for Hôpital Adventiste d’Haïti, and for each of us. It truly means so much!
We regret that we have not been able to reply to all of you personally–although we do look forward to doing that one day. But, until then, many have expressed an interest in helping out:
1. If you would like to volunteer your time or expertise, please contact Annika Cleveland at: email@example.com.
2. If you would like to support HAH financially there are two ways, both of these funds go directly to support the care of earthquake victims.
– Adventist Health International. Link: https://ahiglobal.org/donate Please designate “Haiti Earthquake”
– Amistad International, indicate “Haiti Earthquake” on the donation page: https://amistadinternational.org/donate/
Thank you for your care and generosity in helping to give hope to those who are suffering. A creole proverb reads:
“Lespwa fè viv.”
“Hope gives life.”
Mèsi anpil. Merci infiniment. Thank you and many blessings to you.
How HAH is holding up to yet another disaster
Thank you to all who have been reaching out, giving support and thinking and praying for us in Haiti. I will assure all of you that we are just fine and much better off than almost all of those around us. A few missed meals and lost hours of sleep is nothing to worry about. It is 11pm and Marni just fixed me a little dinner. It has been difficult to find the time to update everyone on the situation. Here is how it unfolded.
At 8:29am on Saturday Aug 14 we felt a fairly strong earthquake and it lasted for an incredibly long time. It did not arrive with a strong jolt but just started gently rolling and got stronger and stronger. If I had been asleep, I may have even slept right through it with sweet dreams of being on a boat. Some nurses and patients ran out of the hospital and some crowd roar was heard in the distance. The panic soon abated and the church services continued on almost without interruption. Amazingly within 9 minutes reports of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake centered about 70 miles to the west of us were being posted on-line. Information about damages in Les Cayes and Jeremie started coming in although it was difficult to know if there were casualties. In the afternoon I took a little nap and then started strategizing about what we should do if victims started arriving at our hospital. We put out the word that we would be happy to take care of anyone that needed help. While keeping an eye on tropical storm Grace, I figured this may literally and figuratively be the calm before the storm. And it was…
At 5pm we received our first victim. From that point on we have been working around the clock. People started arriving like a tropical downpour. We immediately held an emergency meeting with the Chiefs of Service. In the next 3 hours we fast tracked the renovation of the new ward that we were planning to open in a few months. Our staff cleaned the area and prepared 22 beds with mattresses and clean white sheets. The construction crew came in and repaired the floor where conduits were being installed and cemented in the tiles so we could roll gurneys through. Our local staff has done an amazing job of rising to the occasion. Nurses, doctors and support staff have been doing everything possible to organize ourselves, triage patients, and facilitate life-saving operations. As the evening progressed more and more patients arrived. I operated until about 3am and Dr. Jimmy our general surgeon finished around sunrise. The last 2 days we have continued running all 3 operating rooms at full capacity.
At this point our hospital is overflowing. There are patients on the floor and outside with only pieces of cardboard to lay on. It has been raining most of the day and people are struggling to take cover. To put it in perspective the mortality from this quake is 1/100 of the 2010 quake and damages were not in our immediate area. However, we have received a disproportionate number of cases. Once people heard we were offering care they came. Victims can also get to us without having pass through Martissant which highly feared due to all the gang warfare. Fortunately the gangs (or at least one of the 3 major ones) have declared a ceasefire for humanitarian reasons in order to allow people to pass through this area more easily.
I am happy to report that the infrastructure and the staff at our hospital are well prepared to aid in this crisis. Patients are getting proper pre-operative evaluations, being registered with patient numbers and are being processed in a much more organized fashion than before. We are seeing many of the same types of crush injuries and all types of fractures that were seen here in 2010. But up to this point we have not even needed to perform a single amputation. Previously there was a much higher need for one and done operations, but now with our long term follow up, ability to do secondary procedures and our rehab team the situation is much better.
Ok I am falling asleep. 😴
Hopefully more updates soon.
What is happening in Haiti that you are not hearing about on the news
In a text message to a friend on Thursday, Rob, a visiting med student sums it up: “Things are insane, but only slightly more than usual”. Sometimes it takes a first time visitor to recalibrate my assessment of a situation.
I was called to the ER at 1am on Wednesday morning to take care of a patient. The ER is less than 100ft from my house. On my way over I hear machine guns in the distance. We hear gunfire regularly but I am surprised to hear it at that time of day. After resolving the issue in the ER, I come home and sleep for a few hours until 5:37am when Jacques our cast tech calls: “Doktè Scott – pa soti kouri maten an” – don’t go out for a run this morning. I ask why. “you will find out” he says in Kréyol. So I take it as a good excuse to relax and get a bit more sleep.
Only a few minutes later Patrick is at my door with the announcement that President Jovenal Moïse was assassinated a few hours earlier. He heard it on the radio – no further info was available. The day starts to unfold with silence and a general feeling of sadness, doom, and uncertainty.
People are told to shelter in place, but a few employees and our construction crew show up to work. I soon hear that the airport is closed and check FlightAware which shows that the American Airlines flight from FLL has turned around and is heading back to Florida.
We spend a good portion of the day checking the news, wondering what will happen, and reassuring friends and relatives that we are OK. The number of people concerned about our safety and well-being is truly remarkable. Initially friends on the east coast start texting me and then a short time later the west coast wakes up and another wave of messages arrives. By 10am my phone is going dead. The situation around us is uncertain but everyone should know that here on our campus things remain calm.
Only two determined patients showed up to the clinic on Wednesday. Our staff who worked the night before stayed on for the day shift because most of the day nurses were holding at home until more information became available. Our ER doctor stayed for another 24 hour shift which ended up being the 2nd of four continuous days and nights he worked at the hospital. The director of nursing and others on duty ended up working most of the week without being able to go home as well.
The last couple days of the week ended up being extremely busy. Most everyday we receive gunshot wounds in addition to motorcycle trauma and pedestrians who often become victims of the unruly traffic patterns. The MSF (Doctor’s Without Borders) hospital down the road temporarily closed almost two weeks ago after sustaining damages from gunfire. Fortunately no one inside was injured. That facility is located in the heart of Martissant which is the most feared hotspot for gang warfare. The only major route from all of southern Haiti into the center of Port au Prince also passes through this area and it has been impassable for most of the last month. This has made it extremely difficult for us to access oxygen, fuel and other essentials. Trips to and from the airport have mostly been impossible. Our driver Mr. Michel is always monitoring the situation and keeps us out of danger, albeit at the occasional expense of cancelled flights or changes in plans.
An overall update of the amazing and miraculous things that are happening here at Hôpital Adventiste is long overdue. This is a subject of its own and will be left for another post in the near future. But in the meantime know that in spite of all the strife, in spite of so much evil around us, and in spite of all the challenges, we continue to operate at full capacity. It is nothing short of miraculous that our generators continue to run without interruption, our oxygen supply continues to flow, and the patients we serve continue to receive amazing care. The recent events remind us all the more about the importance of continuing on in this work.
Good News at HAH
The Lord is my light and my salvation-
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life-
of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.
This is one of the many Psalms that we came particularly close to in the past few weeks. The joys and victories of working at a mission hospital in Haiti are occasionally disrupted by moments of angst and trouble. Life here is intense. Many emotions can be squeezed into small periods of time. Christmas was a particularly intense time for us. Irma and her father were kidnapped as most of you heard. Due to security concerns we took down the Haiti Bones website for a couple of weeks as it was more appropriate to defer any information to official church websites. Just as intense as the anxiety and sadness that we experienced during those 4 days and 4 nights was the relief and joy that succeeded. We embraced each other during and after this event like never before. We came closer to God and matured more in a few days than we would have during years of peace and convenience. We continue unwavering in our commitment to HAH and the work here in Haiti. We are taking additional measures to assure the safety of our foreign volunteers as well as our hospital staff. There certainly remain some inherent dangers to living and working in Haiti, but we are doing what we can to take proper precautions and allow hospital services to continue without disruption. We are still hosting short term volunteers on a limited basis and welcome those who understand the risks and benefits of serving in Haiti. Thank you to everyone for your continued support!