Below is a letter from Dr. Peter Kelly, President of the CRUDEM Foundation and the Hopital Sacre Coeur in Milot, Haiti, providing an update on what has happened at the Hospital in the year since the Earthquake struck Haiti. It is a hopeful account of what happens when the good intentions of an army of volunteers go to work assisting a focused need such as this hospital and the area it serves.
Here at KARL Chevrolet, we have kept the hospital, its staff, volunteers and patients in our prayers as we had helped supply the Hospital with an Ambulance a couple of years ago. We have built a specail bond with this organization, and along with our customers, we express our sincere gratitude for all the good they do. Please take a moment to read Dr. Kelly’s account….
Milot, Haiti – ONE YEAR UPDATE Post Earthquake
Update on The Crudem Foundation and Hopital Sacre Coeur
ONE YEAR AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE:
I just returned from a week at Hopital Sacre Coeur (HSC) and want to share what has happened to the hospital since the earthquake. This will be longer than my usual emails because of all the wonderful changes that have occurred.
Our physical plant has expanded to include a new maintenance building/warehouse on the land by the nutrition center. This will house the maintenance department and housekeeping department as well as be a storage place for their supplies. Next to it is the prosthetic lab and solar powered water purification system. There is a garage and service pit for our vehicles as well. Our new laundry building is on the rear of this property and the oxygen generating equipment is in a building next to the generator building. There are 2 new generators outside the building waiting to be installed.
When I arrived there was a team of 20 volunteer electricians from California who were completing rewiring of our hospital. All of the supplies needed to do this were donated. These volunteers worked 16 hour days to complete this job without disrupting patient care.
A team from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) arrived to discuss the addition to our lab. They feel that this can be completed by the end of February. Their opinion was that our lab was the best they had seen in Haiti and with our addition we will be able to perform testing that is not available elsewhere in Haiti.
CRS is also coordinating a network of Catholic hospitals in Haiti and we are part of that network. They are instituting a post graduate training program for nurses and physicians and will fund the renovation of our auditorium and provide the equipment to allow us to participate in this program. They will also fund the conversion of a room on our housing compound into a library with computers and internet access so the students have a place to study. Finally they will fund the conversion of our existing depot into a 2 story housing compound with rooms, bathrooms and common areas for 52 volunteers and students.
The reason we are able to convert our existing depot into housing is that we now have a large storage building called a sprung building that was donated and constructed behind mission house. This building is 60X100 feet and 30 feet high. We have shelving that extends to the ceiling and a forklift to enable us to move supplies. We have contracted with a bar coding company( thanks to a generous donation) to bar code all of our supplies. This will enable us to track our usage and needs. Representatives from the bar code company were at HSC this week beginning the training and implementation of this system. There were also volunteers helping with moving and organizing the supplies. We will be able to access this system by the internet so we can coordinate our donations and also volunteers can see what medications are available and what are needed for their trips.
We held our first week long symposium in January. The topic was Diabetes Mellitus and we invited physicians and nurses from other hospitals to attend. We had speakers from the US and Haiti who were experts in Diabetes Mellitus. It was standing room only for every lecture and at the end of the week over 300 people were screened for Diabetes and Hypertension. It was a tremendous success thanks to the efforts of our education committee. We have 3 more symposia scheduled for this year. Emergency medicine/ ICU in March, neonatal care in May and pediatrics in June.
During the earthquake relief efforts it became apparent that their was a need for a nursing school and post graduate nurse practitioner program. We have been in discussion with Northeastern University, CRS, Malteser International and the Minister of Health to determine the feasibility of beginning these programs. We are hopeful that we will be able to work with the Catholic healthcare network in Haiti to begin construction sometime in the next year. Our goal is to ensure that these programs are sustainable before we begin construction. Until we are able to begin we have started a scholarship program to send 10 students a year to nursing school in Port au Prince. They will do their clinical training at HSC and will commit to returning to HSC when they complete their training. We had a testing and screening program in the fall to choose the 10 candidates from the town of Milot. They began their training in November with much excitement from the students as well as the town.
Finally we purchased land to the east of the hospital which can be used to expand the hospital and build new clinic areas and cafeteria for the staff. We are developing the plans for this expansion with the assistance of an architecture firm from Indianapolis who are donating their services. We will be beginning in March the public phase of a capital campaign to finance this expansion.
The cholera outbreak seems to be decreasing. When I arrived there were 14 cholera patients. During the week it increased to 25 but had again decreased to the teens by the end of the week. The patients are arriving earlier so they can be controlled quicker and discharged sooner. Our public health teaching seems to be having an effect. The bulk of the care is being provided by our Haitian staff with volunteers working side by side. We try and adjust our staffing needs based on our volunteer numbers.
At the present we have 119 part time Haitian staff in addition to our 250 full time staff. Most of the part time staff are nurses and housekeeping. We currently have the following Haitian physician staff: 3 Internists, 1 General surgeon, 2 full time Family Physicians and 1 part time, 3 Pediatricians, 3 OB/Gyn, 2 General Practitioners, 3 Social residents, 1 part time Ophthalmologist. Another General surgeon will be starting in March and an Internist in February.
Finally I’d like to share 2 patient care stories that occurred while I was at HSC this week. The first illustrates the improvement in care that has occurred because of our access to the internet and the second is an example of fulfillment of our mission to teach and empower.
1. A patient was admitted to the hospital with a severe leg infection that was progressing despite treatment. The 2 volunteer internists that were at the hospital were able to search the internet and find similar cases with pictures that confirmed that this patient had a rare fungal infection. They altered the treatment and when I left he was starting to improve. A dermatology team will be arriving in 1 week and we emailed them the information so they can be prepared to continue the treatment of this patient.
2. Approximately 8 years ago a Haitian ophthalmologist began to come to HSC when I was there to learn the newest techniques in cataract surgery. Over this period of time he gained the skills to perform this surgery. During this visit we had 3 other Haitian ophthalmologists who came to perform surgery and learn. The ophthalmologist who I had trained also returned this year and I was able to stand back and watch him train one of the new Haitian ophthalmologists and guide her through a successful cataract surgery. It’s an amazing and rewarding experience to watch your student become a teacher and successfully train another student. This is what will guarantee the future of HSC and health care in Haiti.
None of the wonderful things that have happened at HSC this past year could have been possible without the guidance of our board and support of our many volunteers and donors. As HSC enters it’s 25th year it is obvious that we are accomplishing our mission and improving health care in Haiti. While most news reports focus on the lack of progress since the earthquake and question what happened to all of the money donated, you can be proud that all of the donations to HSC since the earthquake have been used to improve and expand the quality of care in Northern Haiti. Ours is a success story that we all need to share!
God bless all of you,
Peter Kelly MD
President, Crudem/Hopital Sacre Coeur