Tuesday, January 21, 2014


A monumental event in the recent history of HAH occurred Friday… 

Since the earthquake 4 years ago there has been continual discussion about the deficiencies in our operating room facility.  Various plans have been made to renovate it but do to various challenges none have yet to materialize.  About 6 months ago Dr. Geneus the medical director asked me if we could move forward on getting the job done.  I committed to doing it and a few minutes later called my friend Jean Marc who runs a construction company here in Haiti.  I asked him when he could come over and take a look at the project and he happened to be in the neighborhood and told me that in 5 min he would be at the front door.  This was actually quite coincidental because often when I call him he is not even in the country.  Initial plans were made and the collaboration of many people began to take place.  The leadership at Loma Linda has enthusiastically supported the project and several experts participating in the design and engineering have made trips down here.

I originally scheduled this trip with the idea that I would be here for a few days to check on the mid construction progress.  Not surprisingly start dates have continued to be pushed back and construction has yet to be started.  I thus made it the goal of my trip to set up a provisional operating room and have everything removed from the existing operating suite so construction can begin.

Mdme Clotaire and Francel
When I arrived on Friday I first met with Madame Clotaire who let me know that she was excited about the idea of getting construction started and that they would schedule some meetings next week to finalize design plans for a provisional operating room and then try to create a budget.  I let her know that we had already conceptualized the design and just needed to have her come up to the emergency room to have the workers create some space as demolition of the OR was to start on Monday.  There was a pause and a smile and within 15 minutes she was in the ER giving orders.  Immediately the workers started moving the furniture and groundbreaking was officially begun!

I then called Jean Marc to see if it might be possible to launch the demolition on Monday.  Fortunately he said yes and that he would send his foreman over to review the plan on Saturday night.  By sundown Friday evening only a fraction of the work was done, but much had been accomplished.

Workers Activate
After a Sabbath afternoon hike up the hill we came back to the hospital and worked late into the night disassembling shelves, moving equipment, organizing materials, and setting up an entire new operating room.  Fortunately by the time we had to leave for the airport the previous operating room was cleaned out and ready for renovation.

On Monday January 20 the construction crew arrived and started demolition.

Moving Out

Ready for Construction