|Stories from Haiti
The Story of Saraphina:
During the March 2007 trip a clinic was held in the town of Fonde Fred , the future home of the Forward in Health medical clinic. A six year old girl by the name of Saraphina was carried into the clinic by her mother. Saraphina had not been able to walk for three months. Her joints had become too painful and swollen. In an interview her mother had noticed symptoms for 1 1/2 years. Because she had stopped walking Saraphina was unable to attend school, a major concern of her mother.
The doctors and nurses of Forward in Health diagnosed her with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was started on Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) and started walking better the next day.
Saraphina was seen in follow-up in July 2007 and looked like a different child. Thanks to donations by Barbers Beyond Dawn, a barbershop in Gardner, MA, enough Ibuprofen was brought down for six months of treatment.
Seeing is believing. Go to (link to Saraphina video), and see the before and after video of Saraphina. Then determine for yourself if the time spent helping the poor of Haiti is worthwhile. It was for Saraphina, who has returned to school!
Saraphina was helped because a clinic was held one day in Fonde Fred. This is why a permanent medical clinic needs to be built. So that the impoverished people of the Fonde Fred area can be helped daily, not just once or twice a year.
This time we were there:
A medical team lead by FIH board member John Harrington, MD traveled to Haiti from February 5-12, 2008. The full account of the story can be found on our blog: http://forwardinhealth.blogspot.com/. The following are excerpts of a collaboration between FIH and Hope for Haiti as told by Tiffany Kuehner, the director of Hope for Haiti.
Saturday, February 10, 2008
Saturday at 2pm Hope for Haiti received a call from an American medical student, Abbey, who is volunteering with Maison de Naissance (House of Birth) in the South of Haiti, that she had met an elderly woman who had been badly burned and who was in need of medical help. The woman had fallen into a cooking fire pit 15 days ago and had 3rd degree burns along her right ear, shoulder, and upper back. The wounds were bleeding and dripping with puss and obviously excruciating. This elderly woman, also blind and suffering from dementia, was too poor and physically incapable to travel anywhere to receive medical care. If she was unable to get medical attention, her wounds would eventually become severely infected and her chances for survival would be incredibly low.
Luckily Hope for Haiti knew of a medical team from Massachusetts who was in Les Cayes for the week with the organization called Forward in Health . After talking with one of the doctors from the organization, Mike, and his sister Judy, they offered to go see the woman to offer whatever care was possible.
By 3pm, Hope for Haiti 's Operation Director, had picked up the doctor and a collaborative team from Forward in Health , Hope for Haiti , and Maison de Naissance were on their way to the woman's home with a bucket of clean water, burn cream and bandages, and medical personnel.
Upon arrival, we found a frail looking woman, naked from waist up, who was walking toward us with her burned side visible. Dr. Mike began to evaluate her wounds and her overall condition. The entire top layer of burned skin was necessary to take off in order for the layer underneath to be cleaned and properly medicated. Unfortunately, if this was to be done, the woman would be in need of continued care and it was obvious that she had no means and no one to care for her. The only facility that we could trust where she would receive adequate care without cost was for her to go to Missionaries of Charity in Les Cayes. With that as a possible option Dr. Mike decided to just clean the burned area and dress it appropriately.
We explained to the community that we would be bringing the woman to receive medical attention at the Missionaries of Charity in Les Cayes.
Arriving at the Missionaries of Charity, the woman received her own bed immediately where she was quick to lay her head down. The Sisters checked her in and assured us that she would receive good care. By 6pm this woman had been washed, medically consulted, well fed and now sleeping for the first time in her life on a real mattress with a real pillow. Abbey let out a sigh of relief knowing that tonight, this woman was safe and in good hands. Today was a wonderful example of the collaborative efforts of the various organizations working on the ground in Haiti . In just hours a team was able to come together to provide care to a woman who would have otherwise have had no means to survive. Hope for Haiti thanks Abbey for making the call, Forward in Health for mobilizing so quickly, and Missionaries of Charity for making sure that this one woman was not forgotten. When all resources are available and deployed, we can truly make a difference.
Just knowing a diagnosis:
Tuberculosis, an infection most commonly associated with the lung, can affect almost any organ system in the human body. Almost unheard of in the United States , the disease is common in Haiti . It can easily spread from one member of a family to another if not treated. If left untreated it is a disease that can kill. In 2006 Forward in Health diagnosed a boy in Fonde Fred with tuberculosis. The child was treated and the rest of the family tested. As stated on video by a member of the community, if not for the work of Forward in Health "he would have died and we would never have known the cause."