Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Haiti doesn't need anything today that it didn't already need before the quake” - previous ambassador to Haiti.

Destroyed church

The challenges continue as we work for the past, present and future… We work for the past - to repair an infrastructure that was broken long before the earthquake. We work for the present – treating our many patients, some presenting with new injuries, babies being born, and Jan 12 trauma that is becoming increasingly difficult to operate now 4 weeks out. We work for the future – laying the foundation for a long term top quality orthopaedic and rehab program at Hôpital Adventiste d’Haiti.


Hôpital Adventiste d’Haiti (HAH) has a strong reputation in the community and is known throughout Haiti. Its previous days of glory can be imagined as one looks at the well designed structures, the sizable grounds, and the devotion of the workers. The hospital was unscathed in the recent earthquake, however, it is evident that in recent years the hospital had all but quit functioning as a hospital and things had deteriorated significantly. Broken, rusty and dirty equipment occupy every room and every corner. Peeling paint and broken fixtures are the norm. Plumbing fixtures are clogged and rusted. And deteriorated “gifts in kind” are piled up everywhere. And the laundry service is using buckets instead of the relatively new commercial washing machine that needed only minor repairs.

Previous condition of patient rooms

Renovated post operative area

Organized anesthesia equipment


We continue to treat orthopaedic injuries some new, some now 4 weeks old. In addition to orthopaedics the emergency department, pediatric and OB ward continue to keep volunteers busy as well. We now have most of the hospital reopened for patient care, rooms have been painted, furniture repaired, and toilets cleaned and recanulated. Some of the most exciting events of the past week were the addition of running water to the building and the inauguration of our pre and post op ward which is now providing reliable, caring and quality service to our patients. We continue to have over 200 patients living in our front yard with more than 1000 friends and family members. This is largely due to the volunteers from the “supreme master of ching hai” who have been making excellent vegetarian meals 3x per day for more than 1200 people.

Boys in front of Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti

Patient awaiting prostheses


The orthopaedic needs of this country were great before the quake and now they are even greater. Thousands of people will be suffering for years into the future from the injuries that occurred last month. This represents an opportunity and responsibility to lead the way with a quality orthopaedic and rehab program which will provide services otherwise not available in this country. This will likely involve some additional construction with extra OR space, orthotics and prosthetics lab, rehab center and inpatient and outpatient areas. The key factor however, for a long term program is having long term professionals who are willing to make a life sacrifice to teach, build relationships and be here on the ground for more than a few weeks or months at a time. The human and economic resources may seem great, but the sacrifices of our forefathers years ago in establishing this institution were no less significant. And we should not let our minds be limited to what can only be accomplished by menial sacrifice, but hold forth a vision that involves giving our best to these deserving people.