Clinic Day 3 saw our dentist as the most popular guy in the building.
As time goes on, the word spreads further and further throughout the nearby villages about our team’s visit. Wednesday we treated another 142 patients and our team is working like a well-oiled machine. Our 4 doctors see patient after patient and move them along to pharmacy to pick up their medications and vitamins. Our one dentist does extraction after extraction and tries to see as many patients as he can.
I had the privilege of assisting Dr Amir for most of the day and seeing first hand the difference he is making. Many patients come to see him because they have pain. Fillings are a temporary fix and not knowing when they may see a dentist again most patients agree with his suggestion to just have the offending tooth removed. Some of the teeth are so rotten that removal is not as simple as just pulling it out and I watched tooth after tooth crumble as the instrument grasped it. What follows is the gruelling task of making sure every single little piece is removed so nothing is left behind to cause an infection.
The result is that many people come to see the dentist and wait most or all of the day only to be told to “please come back tomorrow”. So we will see many return patients the next day with the card we gave them so they will go to the head of the line. Dr. Amir will do as much as he can for as many as he can and hope to alleviate some of the pain these people deal with every day. Once again we are reminded how important it is to get this clinic open more often.
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Tuesday came and went in a blur of activity.
Our team was off to a strong start Tuesday morning with patients lined up as we arrived at 7:30am. Our doctors and dentist quickly began seeing patients and the prescriptions began pouring in to the pharmacy.
Every patient seen while our team is here is receiving treatment for parasites, multivitamins and a toothbrush and toothpaste for the entire family, along with any medications prescribed individually by our doctors and dentist. We are giving out a LOT of antibiotics, pain medications and stomach medications. Lack of nutrition, access to clean water and just unclean living conditions lead to infections, and gastro-intestinal illnesses that people just “live with” until a team like ours comes to the clinic and gives them some relief for a few months. The consensus among the team is that this clinic needs to be open more often than it is right now.
By day two we are seeing people travel from much farther away as word of mouth spreads the news that doctors and dentist are here from Canada. We received a visit today from a mom and baby that we saw last year during one of our team visits. Little Pierre who we thought would not make it to the hospital that day last November is thriving and beautiful because our team was here when he needed them and they saved his life.
Our team had a chance to visit some nearby homes and see just how a lot of the people in Croix des Bouquets live. We were so graciously received as people shared their lives with us and we were honoured to be so welcomed.
Tomorrow begins day 3 of our clinic. We are in a groove now and have been able to make some changes and adjustments not just to be more efficient but to be sure each patient we see gets the best care possible and we are doing all we can to help them, heal them and maybe make their lives better even for just a day.
You can’t imagine how rewarding it is for each team member. As we gather around the dinner table in the guest house and share our experiences, everyone realizes how their lives are the ones forever changed by this experience.
note: the signal just is not strong enough to upload all the pictures we have. as soon as we can get access to a stronger wifi signal we can share all the beautiful faces with you.
After a slow start to the morning things moved quickly through the day with a total of 115 patients seen.
Our dental suite was busy with many difficult treatments required. Many Haitians go their entire life without ever seeing a dentist. Those that do will often only see one when a team like ours visits. A few hiccups with tools and equipment limited some of the patients that could receive treatment but our wonderful Haitian staff at the clinic were busily tracking down exactly what we need and we hope to have parts tomorrow to allow Dr. Amir to use all the tools he needs. We were able to invite those patients to come back later in the week for the treatment they need.
Our 3 doctors, along with a local Haitian doctor saw people of all ages but a majority were women and children. Everything from infections to dehydration and malnutrition were treated by our doctors and prescriptions filled on the spot in our pharmacy.
A seriously ill 18 month old was assessed and it was decided to send him and his mom into Port au Prince to see a Paediatrician at the hospital. Our Haitian medical director hopes to follow up tomorrow to see how he is doing.
The pharmacy was a buzz of activity as medications were sorted, counted and mixed to treat the patients with anywhere from one week to a month’s supply. Many people were grateful to receive simple pain relievers or antibiotics and everyone also received a toothbrush and toothpaste and multivitamins. Items we in Canada often take for granted but when your priority is food and shelter for your family, buying these simple things is just not a priority.
The team’s discussion around the dinner table later was how the experience of seeing a patient for a few moments without much of a medical history, access to testing they would use at home and especially, being able to follow up to see how a patient was doing, is a difficult part of this kind of mission. It is one of the very reasons that EMI wants to be able to send teams more often and someday even keep the clinic running all the time.
Our team is making a difference. Our doctors and dentists educate as well as treat. Mothers leave knowing more about how to take care of themselves and their children, to keep their families healthy. And…for all of us…tomorrow is a new day.
NOTE: our lack of adequate wifi is making it difficult to upload pictures to add to our post. I will try again in the morning and hopefully have some luck.