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Haiti Experience

Over the past two years, the GHI to Haiti has seen and cared for over 100 patients:

Diagnosis Number of cases
Hemorrhagic Stroke 10
Ischemic Stroke 18
Seizure 30
Status epilepticus 10
CNS infection 8
Tumor 6
Headache 20
Autoimmune (MS) 1
Total inpatients seen 103
Adults 46
Pediatrics 57
ICU level 10

Visit from Dr. Augustin September 2015

Our dream of an exchange program with our Haitian colleagues was realized in September 2015 when we hosted Dr. Benetty Augustin for three weeks at BMC. Dr. Augustin participated in EEG training and observed patient interactions on the pediatric and adult epilepsy services. She was also able to participate in our Global Health Program and provided her perspective on our collaboration. At the end of her visit she exclaimed:

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"I am not the same person who came here. I have learned so much. I had a wonderful time working with all of the pediatric neurologists and Dr. Montouris. I will use these skills to help the children at St Damien. Dr. Montouris gave me a big reference book that is great and I can email Dr. Jonas if I have any questions. I appreciate the kindness and the hospitality of the doctors at BMC, and I look forward to seeing you in Haiti!"

Third Annual Trip to Haiti - November 2015

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For our third annual trip we expanded our group. We had Dr. Hohler, Dr. Sharma, Marie Auguste our neurology nurse, and Pedro Belizare, our physical therapist from BMC. We were able to collaborate on this trip with Dr. Santini and Dr. Leaver from Stanford University. This expansion allowed us to work in two teams to increase our clinical care volume and education.

We spent another informative week in Haiti working at the pediatric and adult hospitals of St. Damien and St. Luc. We met with Dr. Augustin who showed us much of the progress that had been made since our visit the year prior. The hospital capacity had expanded with more patients being cared for on the inpatient wards. We spent time rounding on the wards and providing consults in the emergency room and in the ICU. The EEG group was working hard running testing on the many pediatric epilepsy cases. Time spent reading EEGs and providing increased training to the EEG technicians and to Dr. Augustin was very much appreciated. We were thrilled to run a pediatric epilepsy clinic and saw over 12 patients between our two teams. The patients and their families were very appreciative.

We continued our program of education and provided several lectures for Pediatric Grand Rounds. One of the lectures was on pediatric stroke and the other on pediatric epilepsy. These were well received and the physicians asked wonderful questions demonstrating increased expertise in pediatric epilepsy even since our visit the year prior. We were once again amazed by the care the patients were able to receive in the resource limited environment. On our third trip to Haiti there were more antiepileptic medications available, but supplies were limited.

We participated in our usual outpatient adult neurology clinic, and rounded in the ED and on the adult wards and ICU. This year because of our physical therapy involvement, we were able to provide more bedside therapy training for the patients and their families. This was much appreciated as everyone is always interested in speeding the recovery process.

During this visit we were also able to visit the orphanage in Kenscoff, Haiti. The children sang at mass with us and we enjoyed some time dancing, playing soccer, and having our hair braided. The children were happy and felt fortunate to be in such a loving environment. We also visited with some adults who had been children at the orphanage. When we visited the pediatric rehabilitation facility for a consultation, we had the pleasure of hearing from one orphan who was so happy to be able to give back to help the institution. We hope to make a visit to the orphanage each year!

Second Annual Trip to Haiti - November 2014

This year we split our time teaching and clinical care. We taught at a local Medical School to medical students and to the Pediatric residents and attendings. We focused on introductory topics of neurology. We found that the students, residents, and attendings were eager to learn. We also continued to provide neurological care. We have two outpatient clinics for adult neurology and provided consultative service to the pediatric and adult hospital on the wards and in the ICU.

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Introduction to Neurology presented by Dr. Anna Hohler to Pediatric Attending's and Residents at St. Damien Hospital.

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Marie Auguste, RN providing care and education at St. Luc Hospital.

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Dr. Sharma providing neurological care at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, Emergency room.

 

Our First Trip to Haiti - November 2013

Here is a glimpse into our adventures in Haiti:

haitian-life

We arrived in Haiti. Immediately after walking off the jet way, we are greeted by a live band playing soulful Caribbean tunes. It's a real Haitian welcome. We are picked up by the foundation staff and make our way through bustling streets and loose rock roads. We arrive at a gated compound; this will serve as our home.

BMC Team and Father Rick

Excited and eager, we arrive at the hospital chapel, where three hand woven stretchers lay in the middle. Father Rick (the priest and founder) held a daily funeral service for those who had died in the hospital the day prior, which started our day with humility and motivation to make a difference.

Pediatric Hospital Haiti

After the service, we hit the ground running. We started at the pediatric hospital, where we saw patients in the "Critique" (the ICU) and "Urgence" (the emergency room). By the time we made our way to the adult hospital, we already had consults lined up. We cared for over twenty patients that day in the ICU, wards, clinics and in a street side tent at both the adult and pediatric hospitals.

BMC Global Health Team 2013

We cared for a young man who recently had two seizures. He had been in a car accident one year prior without major injury, but had been feeling more stressed recently and wasn't sleeping. He described seeing quick flashes of images from his life before his eyes, before going into a generalized seizure on two separate occasions. We thought he may be having seizures due to his prior trauma and asked for a CT scan to look for evidence of this. To our dismay, the young man had a brain mass in an area that could affect vision. We were not only able to provide him medications and education about his disorder, we were able to schedule follow up with our collaborating U.S. physician who we knew would be in Haiti the following month. We wrote to him and asked him to bring contrast, so the patient could have a contrast enhanced brain scan to better diagnose his brain mass. This is the continuity of care we hoped to provide even if we ourselves could not be there.

Although the work kept us busy, we were able to explore Port-au-Prince and saw some of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake. It is evident that the rebuilding process will be a long and arduous one. We were also able to venture into mountains for spectacular views and natural air conditioning as ell, while mingling with the Haitian community.

This was a humbling, enriching, educational, and maturing experience both personally and professionally.

Thank you to all those who supported our efforts this year and hopefully for many years to come!

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