A contribution from MS3 Ehab Nazzal and MS3 Kareem Al-Mulki:
For everyone reading this blog, this is the first blog post of the 2018 Haiti Trip from the M3's. For the OMFS week (06/02-06/10), the M3's are Ehab Nazzal and Kareem Al-Mulki. We're incredibly excited to be on the ground, and can't wait to see how we can help!
We arrived in Port Au Prince Saturday afternoon and went straight to the hotel to get some sleep. Sunday morning, we started our four-hour drive to Pignon, where we would be working at L'Hopital Bienfaisance de Pignon. We drove along the Haitian countryside, up the mountains, and were able to see many different cities along the way. Throughout our trip, we talked with Louis, a Grady nurse who was coming along for his sixth trip with Emory to Haiti! As a Haitian, he was able to give his personal experience about growing up in Haiti, and also talk about the positive impact that our team has had the past few years. Hearing that people were traveling hours to receive care from our team gave this trip a new meaning to us, and helped to put our trip into perspective.
Upon arrival to Pignon, we drove to a compound that was owned by one of the doctors that works in Pignon. We were greeted by Dr. Sharma, Dr. Lynde, Dr. Roser, and the M4's. Kareem and I are roommates, and our first plan of attack was to set up our mosquito nets, which was no easy task! After that, we were able to get a tour of the compound and see where we would be staying for the next week. Kareem and I took our medical supply bags to the hospital, which allowed us to walk through the city. The walk was only five minutes, but in that short time, we had many people come up and greet us, which was a refreshing thing that we don’t usually see in the states. My personal favorite part was how many animals were walking around the town. Dogs, peacocks, roosters, and goats all live together, and we saw them at every corner in the city.
The hospital sits between a hotel and a few small houses. It was established by Dr. Guy Theodore, an American-trained Haitian physician. There are two separate buildings, and each one has two floors. In one building, you have the clinic and the Emergency room on the bottom floor. The top floor has a few bedrooms for guests of the hospital, one of them being the place we would be staying for night call (I’m sure you’ll hear more about that later). In the other building, you have the main patient care area. The bottom floor is the wards, with rooms separated by curtains, and also a center for labs and radiographic imaging. The upstairs area has a conference room where we eat lunch, but also has about fifteen rooms private rooms for patients. Next to those rooms is the surgical site of the hospital. There’s a small pre-op area, a post-op area, and two OR’s. After visiting these areas, we concluded our tour of the hospital by talking with some of the patients in the courtyard, and then heading home.
Our first couple of days in Haiti have been an adjustment for sure. We won’t be having the luxuries that many of us are used to back home (so if we’re not responding to your texts, it’s not because we don’t love you, it’s just because we don’t have WiFi or cell service!). But, I think I can speak for Kareem and everyone else on the trip when I say that we feel blessed to be here, and are excited to be present and helping, while also learning about the culture and the people of Haiti. Stay tuned for more, and enjoy the pictures!