Touching Hands Project: Haiti 2014 - Follow-up

Kate Corrigan

I’m in Haiti again this summer for 7 weeks. My first week here I met the gentleman below. He is 19 and was severely burned 12 years ago. A group of doctors came to Haiti for a week in February and did a release surgery with skin grafts and sent him home with no post op therapy. He found the clinic one busy afternoon and waited over two hours before I got to him.

I spent many years working in pediatric burns so these patients are very special to me. I was so upset that he wasn't taken care of medically and had no chance to benefit from a painful surgery. Long story short, his hand was a mess and he was in a lot of pain. I asked him one day if I could find a surgeon to work on his hand would he go through another surgery so we could then provide immediate and consistent therapy to try to get him some functional use of what he has left to work with. He agreed and then I thought, "I have some serious work to do!"

I had no idea where to start; I posted in some private medical groups working in Haiti and made phone calls. I came home the next afternoon and saw on Facebook that my friend and former OT professor Rebecca von der Heyde was in Haiti on Day 2 of a surgical mission called "Touching Hands Project: Haiti 2014" I quickly sent her a message about my patient and she passed it along to the team of docs who agreed only to take a look at him the next day. He got up the next morning and traveled 2 hours and waited to be seen. They agreed to operate on him the next day!!!!! He is now coming to the clinic daily for post op therapy. Who knew 12+ years ago that student and teacher would one day work together and get a front row seat to what felt like a miracle!

© 2016 American Society for Surgery of the Hand

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