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Doctoring in Haiti: 2 weeks with the poorest of the poor

Article

After the 2010 earthquake, Haiti has seen an influx of medical professionals ready to help out where needed. Learn how one of those professionals spent her days.

Every morning I roam the halls of the hospital wearing blue scrub pajamas, thick, black-rimmed glasses, and a headlamp. I desperately need a bathroom with running water and a flushable toilet, but those will have to wait.

We start seeing patients at 8:30 a.m. at our on-site clinic, which is situated across the street from the Adventist Hospital. Then, two groups of medical providers load onto a rickety school bus and head out to the surrounding community. One group goes to Cité Soleil, a densely populated area filled with the poorest of the poor, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. A second group goes up the mountain to a convent owned by the Congrégation des Petites Soeurs de Sainte Thérèse de L'Enfant Jésus. Between the local and mobile clinics, we care for almost 2,000 patients daily. Operation Hope has provided physical, emotional, and spiritual healing for close to 17,000 patients since January 2010, when a major earthquake hit Haiti.

GRATEFUL PATIENTS

Clinic conditions are basic: only one gallon-sized pot of boiling water, three clean towels, and a battery clamp for baby deliveries.

Haitians are the kindest and warmest people I've ever met. With every 10 smiles and "bonjour" greetings I give, 10 faces light up, as if to thank me for having not forgotten or neglected them. When they smile at me, I feel as if we are kindred spirits because they bring me closer to God. Their presence reminds me of the powerful ingredients of healing: compassion, devotion, and mercy.

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© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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