Monday, December 15, 2008

Haiti Trip December 8-12, 2008

Once again we return from another Haiti trip with feelings that words cannot exactly describe. The problems are often overwhelming. In spite of the fact that we are not even making a dent in the overall situation, the lives we do touch are often changed forever. I am always reminded of Thoreau's words "One is not born into the world to do everything, but to do something". Our team is in a very unique situation to provide a service that no one else is able to do. Because of our proximity and ability to transport large amounts of equipment we are always prepared operate on a huge variety of problems. Our Dominican anesthesiologist Dra. Adrian and our nurse Lucia work tirelessly, efficiently and adapt themselves to any situation without complaint. In addition to providing the best in patient care, their work ethic, attitude, and energy always provide a positive experience and inspiration for the rest of us. When one of our children needed a blood transfusion Dra. Adrian donated her A+ blood while giving anesthesia to another patient and then paid for the post transfusion lab test out of her personal money.

This trip we were also privileged to have the expertise of Dr. Wade Faerber Chief of Orthopaedics at Riverside County Regional Medical Center, Dr. Cris Sherman ortho resident and Ralph Burney OR nurse also from Riverside County. It was great to work once again with my old colleagues. Even though we go with the intent of giving we always receive a much larger blessing. Seeing the love of the Haitian people, their raw suffering, and their tolerance of discomfort is a life changing experience for us soft Americans.

For more images see

Sunday, November 9, 2008

K2 Medical

When a gift is given from one human being to another a special feeling is created within both the receiver and the giver. Dr. Ray Woo and his team have now just completed their 5th trip to CURE DR. This miraculous feeling from transactions driven by love is one that was felt by all of us including our patients. Because of Dr. Woo and his nurse Ana’s long term commitment to our hospital we have been able to greatly improved our spinal deformity program. Both in terms of equipment and patient safety we have advanced dramatically. Repeat visits by short term teams as well as a local organized infrastructure is the key to success for performing such sophisticated operations in the developing world.

We owe special thanks to K2 Medical for the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of implants that were used this week. Each member of the team is vitally important to the success of the work. Paul Caron and Autumn Sutterlin of K2 Medical, Larry Daly (anesthesia), and Carrie Bower (neuromonitoring) as well as our Dominican doctors and nurses all worked hard for the success of this trip.

Both in the United States and the Dominican Republic the work for these trips starts many months before the trip takes place, gathering equipment and planning for cases. This past week we had the privilege of using the Nuvasive thoracotomy retractor system, Aquamantys coagulator, FloSeal, Grafton and the other products only available in the most advanced centers in the modern world. On the behalf or our patients and also myself I would like to thank all those who gave and spent their time preparing these products.

Arne 16 came to the CURE clinic with her sister in Cap Haitian, Haiti. Both of their parents are dead. With the help of Cross International they were able to travel to CURE Santo Domingo to have surgery for her 85 degree scoliosis.

Katherin 13 with her mother on post op day 5 is ready to go home after having surgery for her 95 degree R thoracic curve.

Click here for more pictures of CURE Hospital DR and the spinal deformity program

Monday, October 27, 2008

Depuy Spine USA

Alam 17, Maryfel 16, Damaris 10, Mario 20, William 17, Roselbia 17, Ana 12, Emelyn 16, Franklin 17, Massiel 15, Dariana 16, Pamela 21, Yanil 15, Juleisy 15, Mideline 18, Wilson 19, Phillip 15, Ana 16, Eunice 17, Lusahidily 12, Mercedes 37, Flor 20, Cynthia 16, Yesica 17, Jose 16, Sheryll 14, Yerolanny 17, Youseline 12, Miguel 17, Esteanny 14, Winifer 12, Andritson 16, Alberto 42, Felix 18, Victor 20, Jose 18, Ruth 13, Miranda 16, Daysi 37, Gernelys 14, Santa 17, Perla 11.

42 patients

4 trips

18 months

On behalf of CURE and the patients we serve I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Depuy Spine on the behalf of the 42 patients that have had life changing surgery because of their generous support. Only 18 months after their first visit they have sponsored a total of 4 trips, inspiring many, educating, forming relationships and changing lives. At CURE we are all about giving our patients loving state of the art care and providing long term follow up for those that we treat making it possible to safely do such complex operations in the developing world.

Todd Spiegel of Depuy Spine and Dr. Howard Place and team from St. Louis University have repeatedly devoted their personal time and expertise to make these last 4 trips possible. Their sincerity and commitment to these children and to our hospital has enabled unparalleled care. Since this October 6-10 trip - Omar 16, Abigail 11, Orlando 18, and Katherin 15 have already been added to our waiting list for scoliosis surgery. We will hopefully be setting dates soon for a return trip.

Esteanny 14 and Andritson 16 @ 2 week post op visit

Click on any of the photos above to take you more photos of spinal deformity surgery at CURE Santo Domingo

Saturday, October 4, 2008

September 2008 Haiti Trip 14

With needs more desperate than ever, the Haitian people once again inspired us to set our own corporal desires aside. We worked day night to relieve just a small portion of their pain and suffering. Making a difference one life at a time we operated on 46 patients with a variety of complex problems. In spite of a broken down infrastructure, lack of electricity, and fuel we were able work around these obstacles and treat more patients than on any previous trip. I was privileged to have along with me two of my mentors Dr. Terry Dietrich a devoted mission doctor responsible for my original introduction to the Dominican Republic and also Dr. Doug Benson from northern California.

Each and every one of these patients came with a special story. There was the man with an external fixator on his leg which had become infected after having navigated the floodwaters of Gonaive. He was accompanied only by his 7 year old son. There was the 11 year old boy who had lost most of his leg due to the brutaine traction methods used by the local doctors for a simple femur fracture. Then there was Presler (pictured) a sweet natured 16 year old boy intentionally burned 3 months ago by his father, for not listening to him. His neck shoulder and elbow had all become severely contracted leaving him with a monster like appearance. Due to providential circumstance, Dr. Duncan Miles (Loma Linda University Plastic Surgeon) was able to come to Haiti for one day to help us with this case. Tuesday night he performed a sophisticated latisimus dorsi rotational flap and z-plasty to complete the first stage of several reconstructive procedures that will be needed. In spite of a painful operation the next day Presler smiled at us from under his mosquito net and said “thank you”. After doing several more cases the following morning, Dr. Miles flew home to Los Angeles leaving us an extra $200 to buy some more diesel for the generator so we could continue operating without delay.

Jean Role director of clubfoot Haiti was also able to join us after riding 4 buses and wading through 3 rivers to get to Cap Haitien coming from the capital. Nonetheless he showed up the next morning dressed for business with his shirt ironed and pants clean. We made significant progress with the Ponseti clubfoot program casting more than 25 feet and doing percutaneous tenotomies on 9 cases. With the help of Robbie Jackson significant strides were also made on the administration and documentation necessary for the success of this program.

There will be 2 new Haitian orthopaedic residents joining the Cap Haitien residency program. We have been asked to become an integral part of their training and possibly increase the frequency of our visits. Both of them have worked with us in the past and are motivated and responsible which is very encouraging as it will allow us to enhance our training program as well as the efficiency and quality of our work for the patients.

Click photo above to see more pictures from this trip.

Monday, September 29, 2008


The generous donation of Orthofix to CURE International is revolutionizing deformity correction, limb lengthening and trauma care at our Dominican Republic and Haiti sites. Some of the common uses for these devices are bowlegs, other angular deformities of the lower extremities, lengthening for congenital short femur, osteomyelitis, fractures, nonunions, and bone transport for bone deficiency after trauma.

Pictured is a 12 year old boy named Laudy who lives in a destitute part of the Dominican Republic about 4 hours from the capital. When he came to CURE he was diagnosed with pseudoachondroplasia a type of dwarfism with this typical “windswept” deformity of the lower extremities. The angular deformities were analyzed and 6 osteotomies were performed along with the application of 4 Orthofix Paediatric LRS rails. Prior to this 4 hour operation Laudy was hardly able to walk. Today he is elated to be running for the first time in his life. Now he has brought the first of several cousins who are also affected by this rare type of dwarfism. Click here to see pictures of his cousin Yini along with some other patients treated at our center.

Because of the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Orthofix equipment that has been donated to CURE International we are able to provide our patients care that is equal to the best centers in the United States and Europe. Because of this type of generosity, our personal sacrifices, and economization we perform these many complex operations at a fraction of the cost that they would cost in the developed world. Also, relatively unique to CURE is our permanent or long term presence in the countries in which we serve making possible these operations that involve a process of close follow-up for procedures such as limb lengthening, bone transport, and deformity correction.

Thank you and congratulations to Orthofix and those of you who work for this generous company which is making a positive difference in this world.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Small Country Church - Big Hearts

“The church is in Philadelphia, MS, my hometown. It's a small country church, with mostly country people, but they have big hearts” describes Terry Winstead a recent visitor to CURE International Dominican Republic. After visiting our hospital, Terry, an occupational therapist from Mississippi returned home inspired to make a difference. He presented the Bethsaida Baptist Church with a report of his trip and a challenge to donate for surgical care of disabled children in the Dominican Republic. In addition he promised to make a matching donation for whatever was placed in the offering plate. After doubling their Sunday morning offering the amount reached over $3500. Each and every one of those dollars will be again multiplied as the lives of the children and families that we serve are changed through medical and spiritual healing. By personal sacrifice, corporate equipment donations, and harvesting wasted excess of medical supplies in the United States we are able to provide state of the art surgical care for our patients at a fraction of the cost normally required. Not everyone is called to leave the shores of their comfort zone to serve, but these simple folk from Mississippi have stepped forward as an example of what Christ has repeatedly asked us to do. Call it an investment, moral obligation, or Biblical principle, the rewards of sacrifice are great.

Give and it will be given to you... Luke 6:38

Roynelis, a 4 year old girl born with a nonfunctional thumb on the left hand underwent reconstructive surgery to create a thumb by transplantation of her index finger. In addition to a wrist repositioning surgery a similar operation will be performed on the right side where she was born missing a thumb and one of her forearm bones. Thanks to support from people like the members of the Bethsaida Baptist Church CURE surgeons and staff are able to transform the lives of children around the world. Click here to see pictures of similar operations performed at CURE Dominican Republic.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Arrowhead Orthopaedics Sponsors Rotation in the Dominican Republic

On behalf of Loma Linda University and CURE International I would like to thank Arrowhead Orthopaedics for their generous financial support of the international pediatric and limb deformity rotation in the Dominican Republic. To our knowledge this is the only ACGME approved orthopaedic elective rotation in the developing world making it a unique feature of the Loma Linda orthopaedic residency program and CURE International. Because of the financial support of Arrowhead Orthopaedics and the administrative support of Loma Linda University and the orthopaedic department an important part of the mission of LLU has been reintegrated into the residency program and placed us at the forefront of modern humanitarian and outreach efforts in orthopaedic education.

Over the past several years there has been a growing interest amongst medical students and young physicians in medical missions and social responsibility. This has spread throughout secular universities throughout the modern world. In contrast to years past, most of these efforts are purely humanitarian as opposed to previous years where the large majority of this work was carried out by religious groups. Loma Linda University was established with the unique charter to train physicians for this type of work long before the secular world became interested. At LLU there is a resurgence of interest in this work as well as strong administrative support which has made possible the success of this orthopaedic rotation amongst other similar endeavors.

The rotation at CURE International in the Dominican Republic and Haiti is a unique opportunity to provide first world orthopaedic care for the challenging problems of the developing world. Due to consanguinity, environmental contaminants, and public health and safety issues we treat a wide variety of rare congenital deformities, developmental problems, post-traumatic disorders as well as other diseases such as polio and TB which are rarely seen in the US. As if many of these problems were not challenging enough, they often do not present themselves in a timely fashion and often have been mistreated at other centers making the challenge even more difficult.

Over the past 3 years a number of top quality visiting professors have greatly added to the resident education and quality of services we offer. This has given the opportunity for the residents to work and develop relationships with surgeons from other programs in the United States. (We are still awaiting a promised visit from Maestro Jim Matiko – possibly this will be realized in 2009.) In addition the armamentarium of equipment has substantially increased over the last several years. Spinal deformity corrections are commonly performed with the latest pedicle screw systems. As well, we have developed an in depth experience with external fixation and limb deformity correction and limb lengthening reconstruction. Residents are getting extensive experience with Orthofix external fixation, Ilizarov, and with the Taylor Spatial Frame which is a computer assisted six axis deformity correction device recently placed on the orthopaedic market.

Sam Chen MD quotes “Thanks to the sponsorship by Arrowhead Orthopaedics, I was given training not obtainable in my home program. I was able to see the effect of untreated pathology and the suffering it can cause. More importantly, I was also able to see the gratitude of people when they are provided with help from outside organizations.”

At CURE International Dominican Republic we have hosted residents from New York, St. Louis, Mayo Clinic, Riverside County Regional Medical Center and Loma Linda. We also have become a regular part of the curriculum for residents from two of the Dominican orthopaedic surgery residency programs. Although the rotation for US residents is ACGME approved, administrative support and financial support has been lacking at other institutions (aside from LLU) inhibiting the ability to formalize the elective for the residents from other programs many of whom have used vacation time for their visits. For this reason we owe a great degree of gratitude to Arrowhead Orthopaedics for financially supporting this endeavor and appreciating the importance of this educational experience and our heritage as educators and students at Loma Linda University.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Biomet Donation Saves a Leg in the Dominican Republic

Multiple surgeons in Santo Domingo had recommended amputation, but when 43 year old Marineris came to CURE International’s hospital she was given a new hope. She had been diagnosed with an advanced giant cell tumor which had completely destroyed the bone just above her knee. In spite of working in an environment of limited resources I very seldom compromise my surgical indications. But in this case I knew it would be difficult to provide state of the art limb salvage reconstruction surgery for this patient whose resources were already exhausted with a few simple preoperative imaging studies.

The first step was to confirm the ambiguous pathology report with Dr. Craig Zuppan at Loma Linda University a ‘virtual missionary’ who gives his time and expertise for people he never meets. Thanks to FedEx and email, one day later, Dr. Zuppan had received the specimen in southern California and confirmed the diagnosis. Lung metastasis were ruled out and with a marginal resection her prognosis would be good. I presented the situation to some of my contacts at Biomet who had helped one of our patients a couple of years ago. Not much hope was initially given due to new government restrictions on any donations that could be construed as physician enticement. After a month long approval process government monitors determined that my practice does not represent any lucrative incentives for corporate donations and Biomet approved the donation. When I announced the news to Marinerys and her husband, tears came to their eyes and hope of living a relatively normal life was restored.

Multiple emails were exchanged with Mark Bollinger and Troy Hershberger of Biomet, Warsaw, IN. Final preoperative planning was wrapped up with a meeting at Starbucks Santa Monica, CA between myself and Tyler Jolley the Los Angeles Biomet limb salvage specialist. I returned from my trip to California loaded with instruments and implants.

After maximal preparation and a prayer… the operation was initiated. The absence of a vascular surgeon, vessel clips and a Biomet rep added to the difficulty of the case. But after 3 hours of surgery the tumor was resected and the prosthetic reconstruction begun. The innovative Biomet Compress prosthesis addresses the problem of loosening at the implant bone interface by loading the bone with up to 800 lbs of continuous spring loaded force to invoke an incredibly strong biologic bond between the metal and bone. We released the spring loaded force and placed the $20,000 implant without difficulty. Her recuperation phase was begun.

It does not matter that Marineris knows nothing about Warsaw, Biomet, Loma Linda, Lemoyne, bone ingrowth, or all the work and resources that multiple people around the world have invested to make this operation a success. She appreciates her leg and her life. Worth more than a insurance reimbursement are the two mangos and a hug that I pass on to all who have given unselfishly to make this possible.

Monday, June 30, 2008

June 2008 Haiti Trip 13

Ou ban-m lespua You give me hope

Every 3 months we go to Cap Haitien and work at the regional government hospital – Hopital Justinien Universitaire with the intention of treating children with deformities, injuries and infections. This was our 13th trip in just over 3 years of providing this consistent service to the people of northern Haiti. In just 5 days we saw nearly 200 patients and operated 36 people with various orthopaedic problems.

This trip I was privileged to be working with Dr. Howard Place (Spine surgeon, St. Louis University) and Dr. Sam Chen (ortho resident Loma Linda University) along with our hard working Dominican CURE staff and several other visitors. Dr. Place has worked in Haiti before and also come to CURE Dominicana twice to perform spinal deformity surgery. His technical abilities and compassionate service are a great asset to the mission of CURE and our work on Isla Hispaniola. We also owe a big thanks to Jim Forbes photographer from the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper who was with us on this trip as well. Not only will you notice some professional photos from this trip but he also mopped floors, operated the x-ray machine, and transferred patients amongst other things.

At the beginning of the week I often times feel overwhelmed and apprehensive about the magnitude and difficulty of problems that are likely to present themselves during the week. After finishing our 36th operation in 5 days, Jim asked me how I felt. Always a bit shell shocked from the experience, I can only liken it to all the emotions a soldier must have when he is returning home from war. In spite of long work hours and little sleep we don’t feel tired until the last case is done. The suffering of the people and the love created by the giving and acceptance of acts of kindness fills the team with emotion that provokes deep thought and leaves one changed forever.

The urgencies and case volume leaves little time for personal interaction with the patients, making one of my favorite times of the week Saturday morning rounds when we visit with our patients and review their post operative care plan before heading home. The 67 year old man in bed 24 Monseur Luime said to me “Ou ban-m lespua” You give me hope. During our last trip in April this same man had been in bed 24. In fact he had been suffering for 10 months with a severe segmental open tibia fracture. Because of the severe infection and little hope for salvage we had left his care to the local doctors. Since they had done nothing the bone was still exposed, although the infection had somewhat improved. This trip we saw him still sitting in bed 24 begging us to help him. With a 2 hour reconstructive surgery we placed an external fixator, removed the nonviable bone and covered the wound with a muscle flap and skin graft. Thanks to the companies and personal donors that support this work we are able to come prepared to take care of a wide variety of injuries and deformities. Often only a couple hours of our time along with the healing powers of our creator can make a life changing difference in those that we serve.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

March April 2008 Trip 12

Every time I return from Haiti I feel like reporting that it was our best trip ever. I am not sure if it is because each trip gets better or if it is just the ever present inspiration and excitement of working in Haiti. It is probably a combination of the two. Although in the big picture we are only making a small difference, we are making a big difference in many of the lives we touch. For us it may be only a one or two hour operation but for our patient it is a life changing event that affects them for their whole lifetime and hopefully beyond.

This trip was exceptional in that we had 12 team members which is the largest ever. Prior to the trip I feared that keeping everyone organized and busy in the chaotic work environment would be difficult. To the contrary each one of the following self-activated people played a special role, making it one of the easiest and most efficient trips ever. And most importantly the quality of our patient interactions and whole person care was unsurpassed.

  • Janet Castillo (RN CURE Santo Domingo)
  • Lucia Hernandez (RN CURE Santo Domingo)
  • Dra. Maria Adrian (MD anesthesia CURE Santo Domingo)
  • Dr. Scott Nelson (MD CURE Santo Domingo)
  • Dr. Dan Ruggles (DO Orthopaedic Resident, Riverside, CA)
  • Dra. Dielika Charlier (MD pediatrics, CURE Santo Domingo)
  • Dale Brantner (VP Spiritual Life CURE Home office)
  • Mike Wilson (Dir. Special Projects, Cross International, FL)
  • Robbie Jackson (CURE Clubfoot Worldwide, Dallas TX)
  • Jean Role (CURE Clubfoot Haiti)
  • Arpy Soo (Plumber, San Luis Obispo, CA)
  • Bernhard Ahrens (Architect, Santo Domingo)

No trip to Haiti begins or ends without some special stories to tell. Before we even reached Cap Haitian we were presented with our first patient. We typically stop for a late lunch at an elementary school run by the Bruno family before driving the last hour into Cap Haitien. It was there that several boys brought over there 3 month old injured puppy to see if we could do anything. The puppy had been attacked by a larger dog and broken her left hindleg. A local “veterinarian” had come and splinted the leg with some yucca leaves and wrapped a constrictive dressing. The leg lost its blood supply and eventually had fallen off leaving a stump of infected exposed bone. Anyone working in primitive countries knows that often times the treatments rendered are worse than the injuries. At least this time it was not a child and the pup had 3 other legs to run on. Nonetheless an operation needed to be done. I told Dra. Adrian that we had a 3 month old around the corner that needed an operation and to prepare some anesthesia. When she saw the furry little creature she was slightly surprised but did not bat an eye. The operation was successfully performed and 6 days later on our way home we made a post op visit. The pup was running around and the children were delighted that she was no longer suffering.

We operated an additional 31 human patients on this trip as well. Many of them just as sweet and innocent as the canine. We only worked until 4:30 am one night and finished by 9 or 10 pm on the other days leaving, us less fatigued than some of our previous trips.

One notorious case was Rosebeline. She is a 10 year old girl crippled by severe bowlegs caused by a poorly understood growth disturbance in the legs called Blount’s disease. Some short term missionaries from California had met her on one of their previous trips and had been trying for a long time to find someone that could correct this. They heard about us and brought her. The next day after a two hour operation her legs were straight. Thanks to the coordinated efforts of people like David Bell inventorying donated Orthofix clamps in Lemoyne, our donors, our founders, Haitians, Dominicans, and Americans we were able to offer this girl a standard only available in some of the most advanced centers in the world.

Thanks to Dra. Charlier, Mike, and Dale we were able to have much more interaction and better communication with our patients. Dra. Charlier is our new pediatrician in Santo Domingo and is fluent in English, Spanish, Creole, and French. She worked tirelessly during this trip and made sure that all the pre and post op care was rendered as intended. Robbie and Jean Role were able to launch the northern Haiti clubfoot center and coordinate solutions to a number of the challenges facing the clubfoot program in Haiti. Berni and Arpy worked on the physical plant around the OR building. These challenges equally as great as those required to perform quality orthopaedic operations, but significant progress was made. Not only does this enhance our work there, but also leaves something behind that enhances the work of the local people.

Although our patients were still suffering pain from their injuries and operations, they expressed an impressive gratitude and love for us and for God, saying that God had sent us and thanking us for helping them.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

January 2008 Trip 11

For most outsiders, Haiti typifies a failed state of insurrections, poverty and social malaise. It has always stood out in the media as the dark side of Hispaniola, the island Haiti shares with the more laid-back Dominican Republic. But a look beyond the headlines reveals a kind and deeply spiritual people, who reach back to their African roots more than any other Caribbean nation.

Haiti’s difference lies in its history: after independence in 1804 the country was isolated from the full brunt of European colonial influences. Art, influenced by the fascinating Vodou culture, has dominated life ever since.

Although Haiti’s lack of infrastructure, grinding poverty and ravaged environment may leave even the most hardened traveler somewhat shell-shocked, it is still a very rewarding place to visit.

Lonely Planet – Caribbean Islands 2007

It took me several days to recover from this last trip. The week usually ends in physical fatigue and emotional overload. If the mere traveler is “somewhat shell-shocked” then visitors to northern Haiti’s government hospital have reason to be extremely shell-shocked. Fortunately all the patients and crew members of the voyage survived the record breaking trip, both parties being tested to the physical limits of the human body. Mentally and spiritually we were all transformed by the events of the week.

Several new team members accompanied us on the trip:

  • Cris Sherman DO – orthopaedic resident, Riverside, CA
  • Ed O’laughlin MD – anesthesiologist, Baltimore, MD
  • Terry Piper MD – orthopaedic surgeon, St. Louis, MO
  • Christy Piper – pre-med student, St. Louis, MO
  • Chuck McDonald – physical therapist, St. Louis, MO

In addition to myself the returning members were:

  • Maria Adrian MD – anesthesiologist, CURE Santo Domingo, DR
  • Lucia Hernandez – nurse, CURE Santo Domingo, DR
  • Bernhard Ahrens – architect and hotel owner, Santo Domingo, DR

A mob of Haitians on strike at the border caused some delays en route to Cap Haitian, but after some negotiations with group leaders we were able to convince them to let us pass. We had to leave our vehicle behind but were able to load ourselves and our equipment onto a truck on the other side of the border and complete the trip. Some of the new team members seemed to be somewhere between amusement and fear during the whole process.

Not until we arrived at Hospital Justinien did it become clear to our first time teammates what the motivation was behind the perseverance it took to transact the border crossing, assimilate our medical team, equipment, and travel the distance to Cap Haitian. The first day of the trip we saw over 140 patients including some follow up visits on some of our previous patients. We operated 37 patients some of whom had bilateral or multiple procedures. In between each case during the entire week we would evaluate more patients, change casts, and transfer patients amongst other things. Dr. Sherman commented that the time we were working least hard was when we were scrubbed in and operating. Although many of the traumatic injuries we saw had occurred in the weeks and months prior, we treat them as orthopaedic emergencies knowing that if we do not take care of them nobody will. Two nights during the week we operated until 4 am. Fortunately the inverter we installed last year gave us uninterrupted power throughout the week and allowed us to operate late into the night without delays and additional risk to our patients.

Another encouraging aspect of the trip was the progress made with our Ponseti clubfoot casting program. Our Haitian technician “Mano” has progressed very nicely with his techniques. He was able to participate in a refresher course in Port au Prince in November that was organized by Andy Mayo and Kaye Wilkins. His reputation is spreading and many children are now coming at earlier ages and the results have improved dramatically.

The week also allowed for a bit of time to meet with the hospital administration and some of the surgeons to better understand their needs and formalize some of our goals for the future of these trips. Bernhard played an essential role in these meetings. Not only is he a great help in improving the physical plant – water, electricity etc. but also is an expert at international communications, empowering the people, and breaking down the some of the barriers to progression.

We go to serve – without pay, but inevitably return with more than we give.

The angels of heaven join us in helping others. They are sent to minister to all who need and choose to be saved, and when we open our doors to help the poor and suffering, they join us, bringing a holy atmosphere of joy and peace. Every helpful act of mercy makes music in heaven.

Jerry D. Thomas, Messiah, Pacific Press 2005

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

CURE Haiti

Orthopaedic surgery is being performed at the Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti for post traumatic, congenital and developmental orthopaedic disorders.  Children and Adults of all ages are treated.

Clinics run MWF 8 am-3pm.

Contact info:
Francel Alexis MD
Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti
Diquini 63 Carrefour
Port au Prince

For further questions email


Keeping in mind Christ's words in Matthew 6:1-4

"Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them...when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.

it was with careful deliberation and intentions to avoid self-glorification that I decided to create this blogspot for the following purposes:
  • To express gratitude to the donors who so generously have supported CURE and our work in the Dominican Republic and Haiti
  • To repay the encouragement and support given to us by our CURE home office family who deserve to see the images and read the stories of the lives being changed by their efforts in a nondescript Pennsylvania warehouse
  • To inspire others to understand the benefits of sacrifice and engage themselves in caring for those less fortunate
  • To give information for visitors planning long or short term work with CURE International in the Dominican Republic and Haiti
  • To provide contact information for patients and organizations seeking high quality orthopaedic treatment in the Dominican Republic and Haiti
As the Medical Director of CURE International Dominican Republic and Haiti this site is authored by myself and other authorized persons but is not an official publication of CURE International and although it is written with discretion it does not strictly adhere to HIPAA regulations.

Contact Information

CURE International
Centro de Ortopedia y Especialidades
Francia esq Leopoldo Navarro 129
Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana

We are located "en frente el Palacio de la Policia" in Gazcue. For those arriving from outside the capital this is just across Av. 27 Febrero from the Caribe Tours bus terminal.

Orthopedic clinics are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9-3.
Neurosurgery clinic is on Wednesday afternoons.
General Surgery clinic is on Tuesday.
Pediatrician is available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Initial consultation is $150 RD for children and $500 RD for adults. X-rays and lab are extra. No appointment is necessary and patients are seen in the order of arrival time.

If a private appointment is desired with Dr. Nelson the charge is $1500 RD (plus x-ray and lab if needed). Please call to schedule.

For further questions please call 809-682-5022 or email