July 2012 Clinic Report by Larry Kaplan, MD
Greetings From Cite Soleil, Port au Prince, Haiti
Haiti Clinic just finished its most successful clinic ever. With sixteen Haiti Clinic volunteers and an additional four volunteers from Raising Haiti- a like-minded medical group based in Connecticut- we treated over 1400 Haitians in 2 ½ days!
The July team of volunteers was joined by two Vero Beach dentists, Drs. Kathy and Pete Guiterrez, and their daughter Zoey, who spent the entire time extracting abscessed and decayed teeth from patients ages 7-70. Without benefit of xrays or motorized dental equipment, they encountered some of the most challenging dental problems of their careers. Since most residents of Cite Soleil Have never seen a dentist, they are immeasurably grateful when offered relief from dental pain.
Our trip’s pediatric staff was anchored by Dr. Brenda Balch of Raising Haiti.org, Dr. John Carroll of HaitianHearts.org and Haiti Clinic Board member Kristy Preston, RN, all veterans of Haiti medical relief efforts. Working together, they addressed the community’s most pressing need by treating 350-400 malnourished, ill infants and children. Three of these infants required immediate hospitalization, but were refused admission by nearby hospitals because they lacked funds for treatment. Treated at Haiti Clinic with intramuscular antibiotics, Tylenol syrup for fever, and oral rehydration fluids, the infants returned for follow up the next day significantly improved. The resilience of the Haitian people is remarkable.
Working side-by-side with two young Haitian physicians, our adult medicine group staffed by Haiti Clinic co-founder Dr. Dirk Parvus and veteran volunteers Dr. Steve Griffith and Laura Sharp, RN saw the usual range of challenging, often life-threatening illnesses. GYN problems were treated by Robin Guiney, RN and Brooke Dreibelbis, RN.
Haiti Clinic was also pleased to provide ophthalmology care. While hindered by the lack of diagnostic equipment that is considered routine in the United States, Dr. Britt Parvus, an ophthalmologist from Philadelphia, did yeoman’s work in treating patients with eye diseases.
The successful treatment of patients requires a well-stocked and organized pharmacy. Pharmacist Jim Dale from Cocoa Beach, Florida accompanied the July team and provided the support needed to maximize the number of patients served.
Non-medical volunteers are essential to the success of our operations. From distributing generic eyeglasses to Haitians who cannot read or sew, to mixing hydration salts for dehydrated infants and instructing mothers on the administration of the fluid, these volunteers are invaluable to our work.
Each time in Cite Soleil reminds us of the pressing need to establish lines of referral to surgical specialists, a task easier said than done. Our July clinic identified 12-15 Haitian patients who needed surgical referrals for various problems such as cataract removal, repair of large inguinal and scrotal hernias, removal of breast lesions, and an obstructing rectal cancer. Through a cooperative network of providers in Haiti, our clinic is working toward obtaining care for patients needing more advanced treatment.
Recently, Haiti Clinic was defrauded of a large sum of money by a former Board member. Fortunately, we recovered nearly all the money within a short period of time following the theft. The organization has adopted additional safeguards to avoid a repeat of this problem.
There are few medical relief groups in Haiti that serve so many Haitians in so short a time on a relatively modest budget. All medical service and medications are given to Haitian patients at no cost. Haiti Clinic’s long-term goal is to staff a permanent full-time clinic with Haitian medical personnel, supplemented by American medical volunteers. Our volunteers pay their own travel expenses and Haiti Clinic’s administrative budget in the United States is less than $5000. Your continued support is very much appreciated.
July Clinic Volunteers
Haiti Clinic: Kristie Preston RN., Kathryn Johnston, Dirk Parvus MD., Matt Parvus, Britt Parvus DO., Jim Dale PharD., Alison Dale. Brooke Dreibelbis RN., Kathy Guterrez DDS., Pete Guiterrez DDS., Zoey Guiterrez, Steve Griffith MD., Laura Sharp RN., Kathy Jones, Larry Kaplan, MD.
Raising Haiti: Jessica Patti RN., Brenda Balch MD., Robin Guiney RN., Vanessa Alvalone.
HaitianHeart: John Carroll, MD.