Touching Hands Project: Haiti 2014 - Day 3

Rebecca von der Heyde, OTR/L, PhD
Day three of the Touching Hands Project (THP) mission was our first day in the OR and in typical mission fashion took about an hour to get up and running. Dr. Alexis was able to request that the generator be turned on earlier than usual; the surgical suites and clinic usually do not receive power until after 9am here at the Hospital Adventist Haiti (HAH). Consistent power would be an issue that we would struggle with intermittently throughout the day.


Tuesday’s surgical cases had numerous highlights. Scott and Mike collaborated on a palmar burn contracture release with skin grafting for a three year old girl. The power went out twice during the case and Kim calmly and effectively continued to provide anesthesia to the patient, using a flashlight to guide. In the room across the hall, Mark and George completed a ray resection and amputation of an abnormal 3rd ray of the foot of a three year old boy. Sophorn was also seamless in her handling of power loss during this case.


Teaching was a notable theme of the day as our surgeons shared their expertise with our Haitian partners, Dr. Francel Alexis and his fellow, Dr. Eldine Jacques. Mark carefully described his technique for elbow contracture release in a nine year old boy with a healed supracondylar humeral fracture. Scott meticulously explained a complex synpolydactyly release in a child with distal bifurcation of the common digital artery necessitating ligation of a proper digital artery. Our fellow/surgeon duo from UPMC, Mark and Mike, also worked together to complete a closing wedge osteotomy for a nine year old boy with arthrogryposis.


After checking on all of patients and their families, we returned to the Auberge de Quebec for a rainy evening and a sky filled with dramatic lightning. We look forward to a full day of clinic, surgery, and education tomorrow.