Supporting Haiti

Today we have an update from Dr Frank Sanderson, who has joined the team from St John, Canada. This is Dr Sanderson’s first time on an Outreach trip, and he shares his thoughts here:

“This is my first experience with an outreach program, so the entire process has been both exciting and daunting!

We arrived at the St. Damien Hospital compound in darkness and it has taken a day or two to become oriented to just this place. St. Damien’s was a Paediatric hospital until the earthquake of Jan 2010 and it has since evolved to provide maternity care as well. There are now about 6000 births per year, and in 2 years it has become the centre for high risk pregnancies.

The volunteer area within the hospital compound might be a rudimentary summer camp in Canada. But although there is camaraderie and enthusiasm here, there is little recreation. There are about 30 healthcare volunteers from many countries staying with us. They provide both clinical and education services with tremendous commitment. Last evening at dinner I met a Gastroenterologist from Alabama who volunteers 1 week per month. Many have been coming to Haiti for years before the quake disaster, including more than half of the ISUOG team. All seem to have noticed that though the situation here remains extremely difficult, there are many signs of positive change.

Hard at work

So how about the course we are teaching? The trainees are mostly Ob/Gyns, but there are also some nurse midwives, family physicians, and OB/Gyn residents. The skill level is quite varied, but all are very enthusiastic and most are well on their way to performing basic Obstetric and Gynecologic scans. Some are amazing! Dr. Aupont asked me today if I could at some point help him with imaging the ductus venosus because he has been struggling with that! Truly humbling when you see how and what he is working with. It has also been good to see the collegial support of the trainees helping each other with the hands-on scanning.

Dr Khalife supervises an OB scan

Today’s lectures were about gynecologic scanning. As an MFM it was a good educational review for me as well. The hands-on sessions are with mixed OB and Gyn patients so I found the academic review very helpful. Tomorrow we are reviewing aspects of Doppler imaging and I am charged with the introduction. I need a real time translator for this so I have to slow down and keep it brief and simple (which as we all know is probably best anyway)!”

Dr Paganelli in action

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