Earlier this year our only hospital in town shutdown due to lack of funds. The hospital – though very limited in what it could do – was like a security blanket. Asher had been there a half-dozen times to be stitched up. When we needed lab work done – that’s where we went. When pregnant women were ready to deliver – that’s where they headed.
The shutdown was a catalyst to get our clinic up and running. There were a few months where we were the only functioning medical facility within a 90-minute drive. Though we were open – we had no way to run lab tests. It was so frustrating. Malaria, typhoid, cholera, & dengue fever all have similar symptoms.
When our baby orphanage first opened in St. Louis du Nord – we took in a newborn who’s mom died during childbirth. The baby was healthy but at 2 months old she began to have diarrhea. The mommas who were caring for them didn’t tell anyone as they thought it wasn’t that big of a deal. Two days later she died. She got so dehydrated and just deteriorated that fast.
I ran a pediatric clinic in St. Louis. Sadly I’ve seen this happen over and over again. By the time the parents bring their children to my clinic – often it’s too late. Had we even gotten to them 24 hours earlier – we could have saved them.
So when a child shows up at our clinic who is sick – I don’t have time to guess which disease to treat them for. It can be a gamble to treat them for malaria if they really have typhoid. And yet it can also be dangerous to overload a child with a bunch of medications.
Which is why today I’m so thankful for healthcare. I’m grateful that when Asher was a toddler – sick with Hepatitis A – University of Kentucky Hospital diagnosed him quickly & wasted no time with treatment. They were able to run a test that we couldn’t find anywhere in Haiti at the time.
I’m also grateful that due to the generosity of others – we were able to open up our own lab in the Mole this summer. Though limited in what we can test for – it does help us shrink down all the possibilities. We also have the only functioning pharmacy in a 90-minute drive. Thanks to the donations from teams & other organizations in Haiti – we are also able to serve this community’s needs.
SO Thankful…Day 9
I realize that all of us have different views about healthcare in the United States. But let me tell you about healthcare here in Haiti.
Let’s say your child has fallen and broken his arm. You go to the local hospital. Do you have money to pay for the x-ray? No? I’m sorry. Then they can’t see you.
Let’s say your child has malaria. You go to the local hospital. Looks like your child needs an IV and chloroquine. Do you have that money upfront? No? I’m sorry. Then they can’t see you.
No matter what you may think about the states – when you enter in a hospital – you are seen. There is no delay because you can’t pay.
When Asher started having seizures every day last summer- there was nothing we could do here. There was no equipment for an MRI or EEG. There wasn’t even seizure medication in all of the Mole. We flew out on an emergency flight and as soon as we landed he was admitted to the hospital for 6 days. Every test imaginable was performed and he was immediately placed on seizure medication.
This past month Asher has fallen 3 times and needed stitches. Just LAST NIGHT – we were back in the clinic and Asher got 3 stitches.
If I were in the states I wouldn’t think twice about finding a clean hospital that could stitch up my son. When Asher fell we had to walk to find the doctor’s house. Then we had to walk to find the guard’s house to open the clinic. Then we had to wait while they turned the generator on. Then I watched the bugs flying all around us as the doctor began to sew up Asher.
There are children who are in desperate need of surgery – but no hospitals or doctors to perform it. There are children who need medicine but the clinic shelves are empty. There are children who die every day in Haiti – who would live if they had access to the hospitals and medical technology that we have in the states.
Upset about healthcare politics? Just visit the local Haiti hospital and then talk to me about healthcare.
So today Lord – I am thankful for healthcare!
I am thankful for hospitals and doctors.
I am thankful for tests and treatment.