Friday, last patient care day.

The day got a startling start for Luis and Robinson and me at the hospital. A newborn baby was brought in to the room where we put our things and change into scrubs by a nurse wondering if we had oxygen. It had just been born, and had just a few signs of life. We didn’t really know how to find anything in the OR but we took him in there and tried to intubate him and do CPR. It took time to find a pediatric endotrachial tube, and I ended up intubating with an adult laryingoscope blade. First try went in the esophagus. Got into the trachea second time but when I tried to pull it back a little it came out and we had to find the trachea again. After coding him for 10 minutes it was obvious from the pupils that he was gone, so we stopped. Luis baptized him with water from Robinson’s water bottle. We were all kind of stunned. Within 5 minutes the OR staff had arrived for the day and they were busily asking us how many hernia surgeries we would be doing today, laughing and smiling because they were glad to see us. We got to work like nothing had happened. It was a long, satisfying day doing multiple hernia and hydrocele repairs on 3 patients who were so grateful that one elderly man cried afterwards because he was so happy.

The rest of the team went to Bayonnais in the countryside to do their last day of clinic. Medicines were getting thin and the team was tired and so cut off the patients signing in at 100. Somehow they ended up seeing 150 by the time everyone was seen. Several of them commented to me that they had fallen asleep while interviewing patients and their interpreter had to wake them up. Reminded me of my general surgery residency.

They all got to stop by the hospital and see it while we happened to be between our last cases so we got to give them a quick tour. All the medicines left over were given to the hospital pharmacy, along with the EKG machine.

Then Pere Max had a party for us at the rectory for our last night. Church members and clinic construction workers and the workers who completed the two beautiful new bathrooms with showers just before we arrived were invited. Before dinner short speeches of thank yous were entertained from each individual present on our team and from them. It was quite humbling and gratifying to hear their praise and thanks expressed over and over again, from their hearts. (What a great week it has been!, and what a great team!) After that there was food, and dancing, Hatians with Americans. Jacob, my 13 year old really cut a rug out there. So did Taylor, my 17 year old god-daughter. There was much, much merriment and laughter in Haiti!

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