Day 2 at St Damien: Diagnoses and progress

Today we hear from trainer Bettina Hollwitz on the encouraging developments of Day 2:

Bettina and trainees

Bettina and trainees

“Our second training day lies behind us, and everybody gets tired (and retires) quickly after dinner. Again, Enrico would insist on cooking dinner, especially since he discovered the Northern Europeans were not to be trusted when it came to pasta and vegetable preparing… So, we got treated to Italian delicacies once more! Lucky us as we did not take the opportunity to go shopping for groceries, because it became a really long day in the hospital today:

Andrea shows a trainee how to fill out a logbook

Andrea shows a trainee how to fill out a logbook

We continued our lectures in the morning, focusing on the crucial role of US in GYN cases (esp. ectopic) and diagnosis of threatened preterm delivery. Professor Nicolaides would have been proud of us emphasizing the superiority of US to traditional clinical practices: Enrico went as far as telling the Haitian colleagues they could possibly cut their right index finger off! Don’t tell: I don’t quite agree here, but we really had a point when in the afternoon a symptomless IV-Gravida at 31+ weeks who had lost three children soon after birth due to prematurity was found to have a cervical length of 13 mm with an impressive bulk of intra-amniotic sludge at routine scan! She got admitted for lung maturation, antibiotics and initiation of progesterone treatment, and we all will have an eye on what happens to her during the rest of the week and whether this baby finally will be the survivor.



Also we newly diagnosed two sets of twins today (we have to report, however, the mothers were not overly delighted), and also some more stunning findings (huge fibroids totally obscuring a tiny 5th week gestational sac in one corner, huge polyhydramnios to be dealt with immediately). Happy to say so, the students are clearly aware of the ever-growing importance of US in antenatal care, and the returning trainers are very excited how last year’s achievements have been sustained and even broadened by the trainee group, and how the word of the quality of the course has spread: A few new people including more midwives show great determination to catch up with their colleagues, and I personally find it a very encouraging step in empowerment of women how the dominantly male OBGYN doctors and the midwives and female general practitioners now share tasks, trainers, tools and time in order to accomplish better patient care together. Of course, some do better than others and to keep them patiently waiting for their slower peers, we had to offer bonus material: long after the presumed ending time, we showed the remaining cracks how to do uterine artery Doppler, and they did amazing. How great their astonishment and pride to hear from me that they now already can do a test that many specialists in practices in my rich home country have never really learned to perform!

Ellen demonstrates a scan

Ellen guides a trainee in a scan

For me on my return to Haiti three years after our earthquake relief efforts it’s quite obvious: These are strong young people we deal with, highly determined to build a better future for themselves and others. They didn’t lose the spirit, so we won’t either. Good night.”


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