Source: Blog Post

Bienvenue au Haiti day 1!

Today marked our team's first day in Haiti. What a day if was! We had a reunion, a wedding and a work day.  Our team started the day with breakfast at 7.  Our Haitian-now American surgical tech JJ returned to his home, and surprised his former fellow employees. They had not expected to see him as in the last few months he had emigrated to the US and is now working with Dr Gelfand in Maryland.  There was tremendous joy in all of those who had the opportunity to reconnect with JJ.  

Wendy, Melissa and Sharon sorted our supplies.  Sharon brought joy to countless numbers of patients by providing socks and underwear, candy and a smile.  Melissa and Wendy brought a smile to the entire surgical team by meticulously organizing our surgical supplies. We will be ready to operate efficiently and safely in the morning thanks to their hard work.  

We also had the pleasure of working with Dr Alexi our Haitian orthopedic counterpart.  Dr Smith. Dr Gelfand and I saw each patient with Dr Alexi one by one.  What a joy it was for us to offer surgery to those who would need it later this week and for those who didn't Dr Ben Gelfand (Dr Jeff Gelfand's brother and expert physical therapist) was there to splint, range and treat the non surgical patients.  We also were able to work closely with our friends from Middle Tennessee university who screened our patients, and even offered regional pain management to a patient who needed an epidural injection.  

After a busy and fulfilling day we all had dinner together and JJ and his lovely friends and beautiful new wife Darling, shared with us their stories.  JJ inspired us with his story of rising up to learn to speak English, find work at the Adventists hospital and to go to school to become a scrub tech.  His determination and tenacity are truly inspirational.  He also shared his story of meeting his new wife and signing the court papers today to be officially married.  

Thank you all for your kind donations.  Supplies to us that were thought to be no good were tremendously helpful to the patients here.  One example is a prefabricated splint that had been cut and was saved by one of our Mayo therapists.  We used this splint today to comfort a 12-year-old orphan who we will operate on tomorrow. Nothing donated has gone to waste and it is with great pride that I tell you these supplies have already improved the lives of the patients. 

Sol Azouz M.D. MSc.