Last year I had the privilege of spending a few days with two doctors, two nurses and a midwife from Hôpital Sacré Coeur, Milot, Haiti. This Haitian Team was in town to study best care practices for treating maternal and newborn illnesses. I attended medical simulation sessions at MedStar, where they focused on women and newborns. The Medical Team was engaged in learning new treatments, asking questions and observing all the presentations.
After a full day of instruction, we were able to do some sightseeing downtown. I said “Hello” to one or two of the doctor’s children, whom they were Skyping or calling as we toured D.C. monuments. They are very dedicated men and women that sacrificed time from their families in order to learn how to better care for their patients. And when at work in Milot, I heard that the hours are long and they are often on call when shifts are done. The hope is for more doctors and nurses to train and stay in Haiti to help their own people instead of leaving for positions overseas.
I also was able to spend time in prayer with the Medical Team. We attended Mass and then spent a lovely evening celebrating with our new friends. They have our continued support.
— Joan Glasgow
Over the past five years, a group of US-based Pediatric specialists have been working closely with the Pediatricians at Hôpital Sacré Coeur with the goal of improving the medical care provided to children in Northern Haiti. Through partnership, mentorship and multidisciplinary support, the Haitian staff and American team of physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists have built what is arguably the top Pediatric medical care team in Northern Haiti.
Implementing sustainable programs in direct patient care such as breathing support for premature infants and integrated doctor/nurse care plans as well as indirect patient care through telemedicine, the team has saved and improved the lives of many children over the past five years.
—Robert J. Freishtat
Sally and I went down together, she as a nurse, and I as an ophthalmologist. The need for eye care is insatiable, with much diabetic retinopathy.
The equipment was limited (pre-earthquake) and I was unable to use the laser I took it down because of the absence of a usable delivery system.
We both found Milot a positive, though challenging, experience.
—Ray and Sally Pilkerton
It is always a humbling experience to meet people whose homes are smaller than my bedroom and whose children come out of those homes every morning bright, clean and happy in spite of the lack of running water or electricity. They wait for hours in the hot sun on backless wooden benches to be seen by the medical team. They are dressed in their Sunday best: all the while proud, polite and pleasant. I cannot imagine Americans doing so well. I always come away profoundly grateful for my blessings and humbled by the sweet Haitian people.
My name is Kitti Haywood PA-C. I have been to Hôpital Sacré Coeur 10 or 11 times in as many years. Before each trip I have a certain amount of anxiety about the unknown; what will I see? Will I be able to help? And am strong enough to do it?
I have gone on trips to Milot when it was a very sleepy little town and we had a group of four. I have also been immediately after the earthquake when Milot was a bustling mini metropolis with 40 volunteers and 400 patients in tents. Each time I have seen things unlike anything in my experience; each time I’ve been able to help some Haitian people. I have not been able to fix Haiti and I never will. But I have a met some of the most charming, delightful people on the face of the planet and have been able to help them.
It was a wonderful gift for me to be a volunteer physician at Sacré Coeur Hospital and help the people of Haiti.
There is just an enormous satisfaction in being able to diagnose and treat serious illnesses and change potential disasters into happy and healthy outcomes. And because advanced disease is so commonplace in Haiti that kind of small miracle happens every day.
What’s more, the gratitude of the patients for the care is just disarmingly sincere and heartwarming. I love practicing medicine at home in the U.S. but at Sacré Coeur there is a different dimension that makes it very special.
There is no diagnostic code number for it and it does not require an electronic medical record, but it is real and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to experience it.
—Dr. Jim Ronan
When I visited Sacré Coeur in Milot I was so impressed by the quality of care that the sisters and staff at the hospital provided. Having been involved in a free medical clinic for the underserved, Mercy Health Clinic, in Gaithersburg MD, I can appreciate the effort and dedication that goes into this level of care.
It is clear that Sacré Coeur Hospital provides a much-needed medical home for the people in the area. I was pleased to see that teaching the patients how to stay healthy is as important as curing their illnesses.