By Al Fleury, M.D.Our team has just returned from Haiti. It was a grueling week but a good trip. Here is a picture of our team.
We were very busy and did about 30 surgical procedures. Dr. Andrew Umhau made sure that all of our patients were medically fit for surgery. We had 2 operating rooms, one for breast surgery and one for plastic surgery. There were many patients with breast disease and Dr. Colette Magnant was invaluable in providing care for these patients. Sally Reinholdt helped to be certain that everything ran like a clock for her. Dr. Magnant treated about 5 patients for breast cancer, some quite advanced. She operated on one young girl with a very large benign breast tumor and performed many other breast biopsies.
Dr. Mary Ella Carter ran the plastic surgery operating room and I helped her. We saw a young man with a large facial tumor which Dr. Carter was able to remove. Fortunately it was benign. Here are some pictures before and after surgery.
He still has some swelling which should go away in the next couple of months. In the plastic surgery room Kitty Haywood kept everything on track.
Dr. Marjorie Brennan took care of all of our patients in the operating room with excellent anesthesia and Missy Stockstill made sure that they had a smooth recovery.
In plastic surgery we also operated on a man with a bad fracture of his lower leg with an open wound and exposed open bone. We sewed his legs together to grow new skin from the uninjured leg to the injured. Hôpital Sacré Coeur staff surgeon Dr. Ogedad Pierre, an excellent Haitian orthopedist, will separate his legs in about three weeks. This is the third time we have done this type of operation at the hospital in the past few years and all have done well. We saw a 6-year-old girl with overgrowth of her big toe which we were able to reduce and another young boy with a severe toe and foot deformity from an auto accident. We worked with Dr. Pierre on all of these cases. He is technically great and eager to learn.
On the final day we took care of a patient with a severe facial burn from cooking.
While we were at Hôpital Sacré Coeur, a cardiology team from Holy Name Medical Center in New Jersey worked on Dr. William Battle’s cardio ultrasound project. On Friday, Andrew and I lectured to the staff in French.
One of the highlights of the trip is always a walk with Sister Ann to visit some of the many families for whom she provides support. These are the poorest of the poor. She has 2 builders who help her provide housing for these Haitians. To date she has built over 70 houses. Below are some photos of the house in which a family, quite possibly 8-10 people or more, was living and the one she was able to have built. There is a picture of Sister Ann passing out lollipops.
Before closing, I want to share with you something that happened on my last trip. Our team was making evening rounds. We were approaching the women’s ward where there were 6 women in beds so close together that there was barely enough room to walk between. Among these patients were a young woman who we had treated for a very advanced breast cancer and a college student who had burns.
As we approached the ward we heard what can only be described as angelic singing. When we entered we asked what they were singing. They replied that they were singing their evening prayers to thank the American doctors and nurses for coming to help them.
Thank you all so much for helping us to support this hospital. As you can see it allows us to continue this work.
Dr. Al Fleury is a Washington, D.C. based plastic surgeon and member of The CRUDEM Foundation Board of Directors. Dr. Fleury and his team volunteer at Hôpital Sacré Coeur every year.