The initial surgical trip to Haiti was in 2012. We partnered with Bethlehem Ministry which has supported a school and medical clinic in Terrier Rouge for decades. In our first surgical trip we laid the ground work for a sustained surgical practice that now supports medical teams from around the world.
We constructed the equivalent of a MASH unit and were able to perform 27 surgeries in the 4 days of operating. We were able to run two “rooms” using a single anesthesia machine and two anesthesia providers and 2 orthopedic surgeon. Our operating room was a cement block room without running water or electricity. We operated with head lights strapped to our heads because turning on the air conditioner and lights at the same time typically out stripped the generator was had.
We were able to help several people dealing with complications associated with previous surgeries during the after math of the earthquake as well as acute injuries. It has been great to receive reports on how those initial patients have been able to benefit from those initial cases.
I am thrilled to report the facilities through partnership with the Haitian clinic “Clinique Esperance et Vie” (clinic of hope and life) and generous supporters including AOC, there are two fully functional and fully equipped operating rooms now in site at the school/medical clinic. They have been able to accommodate multiple medical teams yearly in order to provide much needed medical care to the people of rural Northeast Haiti.
In the end, I went down to help the people of Haiti. I thought I could give back to those in need and in an under served area. We did offer much needed help to the Haitians and we did do a lot of good. However, I think I speak for all those that go, the “givers” end up receiving so much more than they could ever imagine. The joy, appreciation and hospitality the Haitians showed us was amazing. Even in their lack of means, they are generous, loving, joyful and gracious with what they have. The perspective obtained from venturing out of our comfort zone helps to remind me of the abundance of blessings we have been afforded.
I am quite proud of both the personal and corporate support we provide Clinique Esperance et Vie and I look forward to returning there and bringing my whole family down to experience both the need and hospitality of the Haitian people.
Dr. Michael Shuler