As we walk around Hôpital Sacré Coeur’s campus this Spring, our focus is not as much on the beautiful, budding landscape as it is on the vast array of medical programs that offer life enhancing and lifesaving benefits for the patients we all hold so dear. One of the many examples is the outstanding progress of Hôpital Sacré Coeur’s ophthalmology department.
The first laser surgery conducted in Haiti to control early glaucoma was performed at Hôpital Sacré Coeur in 2004. Quite the achievement at that time. Since then, the department continues to set the bar for newsworthy and exemplary medical service, not just in the north, but in the nation.
Two years ago, the Lavelle Fund for the Blind generously provided a grant to hire a chief ophthalmologist, a clinical technician and a surgical technician. Two rooms of clinic space were reserved for the department and an operating room in the new Surgery Suites building was allocated for their daily use. This state of the art ophthalmology facility provides the northern Haiti population much needed access to quality healthcare. Patients can be seen and treated sooner, and more patients can be accommodated than ever before.
Hôpital Sacré Coeur’s ophthalmology department also serves as the focal point for advanced training and collegial cooperation among all the ophthalmologists in Haiti. In January, Dr. Mildred Olivier, a Haitian American ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist from Chicago, as well as the Academy of Ophthalmology’s representative to Haiti, came to Milot to work with Haitian ophthalmologists.
Dr. Olivier was so impressed by what she saw that she made a presentation at a Port au Prince meeting of Haitian ophthalmologists and residency program teachers. All were amazed by the quality of the facilities. Hôpital Sacré Coeur now has the best OR and clinical equipment in Haiti. As a result, the hospital will become a surgical training site for Haitian ophthalmologists which will improve the quality of care in the whole country.
Also, in January, a volunteer ophthalmology team from Massachusetts joined with the hospital staff for a week of clinics and surgeries. The combination of quality facilities, competent staff and collegial cooperation came together in a particularly miraculous, transformative way during one operation. A 13-year-old girl who suffered from diabetes also grappled with blindness. The combined staff and volunteer team diagnosed her with bilateral mature cataracts. Surgery was scheduled, the cataracts were removed, and the surgical team successfully restored her vision!
Such a dramatic, life-changing outcome occurs at least once a year in the ophthalmology department. Routinely, patients’ visions are made better and an aggressive program of screenings prevent or delay blindness.
You, the donors who lovingly give your financial gifts, play a critical role in setting the standard for quality care in Haiti and in seeding the realistic potential for significant positive impacts throughout the country in the years ahead. You, literally keep the hospital doors open so the tens of thousands of patients who come to Hôpital Sacré Coeur might find their hopes of better, healthier lives realized.
It is no exaggeration to say, “You have the power to heal.” Daily, we witness the glorious birth of transformed lives and people with more hope-filled futures — thanks to you! The number of people we can help is limited only by the amount of donations we receive.
Harold Prévil, M.D.
CEO, Hôpital Sacré Coeur
Sister Ann Crawley, C.S.J.P.
Hôpital Sacré Coeur Outreach
David G. Butler, M.D.
Chairman and Medical Volunteer
P.S. Send your tax-deductible donation by May 15th. Remember: 100% of your donation goes directly to patient care programs.by