A recent New York Times editorial bore the headline, “Haiti, Unfinished and Forsaken”. It went on to decry the fact that sustained attention to the problems of Haiti is mostly gone. The amount of money going to Haitian-led institutions is barely 5% of all AID financing in the country. The vaunted Carecol project, an American led redevelopment project right in our area in northern Haiti, was supposed to create 60,000 jobs. At the end of 2013, it had created 2,590 jobs. The U.N. notes that “the slightest shock” could send Haiti into another round of misery and death. Pretty grim.
On this fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake which rocked the country I would have to say that while all this may be true for the vast majority of the country, the staff at Hôpital Sacré Coeur remains very optimistic. In our little piece of the north, we continue to work diligently to improve the lives and health of all those who look to Hôpital Sacré Coeur for assistance.
We are in the process of completing a new clinic building which will double our ability to see patients. The new building will include modern exam rooms, a radiology department, pharmacy, Emergency Room, and HIV/AIDS clinic. This is all a result of the incredible generosity shown by those who support CRUDEM.
However, there is another piece to this success story and it involves the volunteers who come to Milot to be a part of making it all happen. Perhaps the following story will give you an idea of the grit and determination characteristic of those volunteers.
Greg Bozzo, a young father of 2 children, came to Milot for the third time in October 2013 as part of a construction crew from Holy Name Medical Center. While working on a project at Hôpital Sacré Coeur, Greg fell off a scaffold and fractured his pelvis in four places, along with his wrist. This is not the kind of injury that we are equipped to handle in Haiti and so Greg had to be evacuated.
The medical evacuation plane was not allowed to land at Cap Haitien airport and so Greg had to be transported to Port-au-Prince where he could be airlifted to the U.S. This journey over unbelievably bad, rugged roads, almost impassable at times, took 9 hours. Greg was in excruciating pain, with every bounce and bump producing spasms of agony, as anyone who has ever had a fractured pelvis can tell you. It was scarcely bearable only because he was being given I.V. sedation by Dr. Alan Gwertzman, an anesthesiologist who was also volunteering at HSC.
After undergoing surgery the next day at Holy Name Medical Center, in Teaneck, New Jersey, Greg has embarked on a journey of recuperation and rehabilitation. Three months later, he is on crutches and just beginning to work part-time. It will be one year before he is fully recovered.
With this background, it was with some trepidation, that I asked him, half jokingly, when he was coming back to Haiti. He became serious and said that he “couldn’t wait” to go back. When he first went there, he said it was with the vague idea that he “could do some good”. Once there however, he saw that he was actually “saving lives”. He has “unfinished business there” and says he will return as often and for as long as he can.
Well, that’s Greg Bozzo, a volunteer at Hôpital Sacré Coeur and a true hero.
He’s the kind of person who makes your contributions work.
David G. Butler, M.D.
David G. Butler, M.D. is a Fellow in the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and has worked in private practice in Englewood, NJ for almost 40 years. He is an attending at both Englewood Hospital and Holy Name Medical Center, both in NJ. Dr. Butler received his M.D. from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY and completed his residency as Chief Resident OB/Gyn at St. Vincent’s Hospital & Medical Center in New York City Dr. Butler also serves on the Board of Trustees of Holy Name Medical Center, Teaneck, NJ. and is the former Chairman of that Board. He and his wife, Mary Ann Butler, M.D., live in New Jersey and are the proud parents of five children.
For almost 30 years, Hôpital Sacré Coeur has served the 250,000 people of Northern Haiti with dedication, skill and love. Through full service medical and public health education programs, people receive the treatment and education necessary to stay alive and live more productive, hopeful lives.
When you donate to CRUDEM in support of Hôpital Sacré Coeur, you give someone, who just happened to be born in a low resource country, the chance to have a life. Start a new giving tradition: Give a Life! Giving doesn’t get more meaningful than that.by