Monday, May 10, 2010

Return to the Mission

After a much needed 2 week hiatus from the chaos of the ongoing disaster relief efforts at Hopital Adventiste d'Haiti I returned yesterday to face the challenges. In spite of several recent events regarding reintegration, sustainability, and international communication breakdowns, today was an especially productive and reassuring day. The clinic was filled with patients, 3 operating rooms ran simultaneously, experts from around the Americas worked busily, and administrative meetings reaffirmed the commitment to our mission of serving those in need.

The acclaimed reputation of our hospital from years past has been restored and enhanced because of the excellent services and long term stability that this hospital has provided to the victims of the earthquake and others with urgent and often neglected medical problems. The inherent institutional political challenges after a tragedy of this magnitude have resulted in the following scenarios at other local institutions:
  • Well reputed hospitals have had to completely shut down due to lack of income to pay normal operating expenses and repair damaged infrastructure
  • Attempted survival while refusing the continued expertise of well intentioned foreigners offering free services and destroying the economic norm of local doctors and hospital operations
  • Completely expatriate operated institutions created by foreign NGO's. Some of which have terminated or diminished services due to difficulty with long term sustainability and rapid turnover of volunteers
A mission hospital is by no means immune to institutional politics. Quite the opposite. Many times they are political hotspots due to factors of finance, religion, communication barriers, racial issues, power struggles and small numbers of people working long hours in adverse conditions. In spite of many "challenges" and the inevitable hospital politics we continue to focus on our mission of serving those in need.

We owe our successes to several unique aspects of our institution. First and foremost is the grace of God who has enabled each one of us to serve here with a mission for our fellow man. Many visitors have been impressed that we have both the Haitian staff and our foreign volunteer staff have working together which they have not seen at many other locations around the city. In spite of the fact that we are the closest major medical facility to the epicenter of the earthquake our building did not suffer any significant damage. Although some pre earthquake deterioration had occurred, we have one of the best facilities in the region and have already accomplished major improvements to the physical plant and upgraded many needed pieces of equipment. The commitment of several long term volunteers combined with the efforts short term experts has allowed capacity, excellent services, and stability. We thank our supporting organizations such as the Adventist church, Loma Linda University, CURE International and other collaborators for financially supporting the operational costs during this time when extra services have been provided for thousands of patients who have no ability to pay.

God is with us.Syringofibroadenoma - Before
26 year old girl who suffered for years with a foul smelling tumor on her R foot is doing well after excision and skin grafting. Thank you to Dr. Dror Paley - surgeon, Dr. Craig Zuppan LLUMC pathologist who provided the diagnosis, and the LEAP plastic surgery team.