5 days of surgical and medical care in Gonaives: 23 surgical cases and 1500 patients treated

This week at the city’s public hospital Ken Danylchuk and Pete Sloan (Orthopedics), John Cichon (ENT), Ben Massey (Anesthesia) and myself (Gen Surg) completed 11orthopedic, 9 General Surgery/ENT, and
3 Minor surgical cases in 5 days. The orthopedic cases ranged from repairing fresh complex fractures to old non-healed fractures left from the earthquake using plates and screws we brought with us to removal of plates/screws from healed fractures repaired right after the earthquake by Haitian surgeons and international volunteer medical teams in the Port-au-Prince area. We also did some trauma and hernia cases.

Dave Draper fitted 4 artificial legs and one hand and helped some people walk again for the first time.

Meanwhile, Jason Sims & Kallie Mendoza (Family Practice), Val & John Cichon (ENT) and a talented cadre of nurses and medical and non-medical young people saw and treated 1500 patients in the inaugural use of our new medical clinic at the Episcopal church in Gonaives as well as at the mission church in the nearby agricultural valley of Bayonnaise.

The young folks on the trip divided their time between hospital, clinic, and construction teams, getting to experience everything. They were the backbone of the highly efficient pharmacy operation that enabled the medical team to see so many patients.

Dan Dolan put the infamous repaired computer card back into Shane and Wendell’s (and Project C.U.R.E. ‘s) x-ray machine and took the first x-rays in the hospital since the hurricanes of 2008. He then built a dark room (tent), put the film developer together, and developed them as we all cheered. The hospital staff rejoiced! All told he shot 30 films for the Ortho crew and others, did 5 flouroscopy cases(with the C-arm donated by Parkview Hospital), and re-trained their tech to do x-rays. I taught their ultrasound tech to use the ultrasound machine we had brought them (donated by St Mary Corwin Hospital, it is identical to the machine I use in my office).

Ben Massey got the anesthesia machines in the 2 operating rooms functional again so that they can now do general anesthesia cases. He taught the Cuban anesthetist how to use them when we leave. She was just one big smile the whole week.

And speaking of our new clinic, Ray Sims and the construction team installed all the sinks, water and drain lines, cabinets, and counter tops. He and Nick Sloan then connected the automatic electrical switch on the generator to city power putting us “on the grid” for primary electric power with a great automatic generator for back up. Very sweet!! The clinic is now finished enough to be opened. That being said, Father Max and I interviewed a local Haitian physician for our clinic doctor, and our already identified local clinic nurse and nurse’s aid worked with our medical team for familiarization all week quite well. If the doctor accepts our salary offer we will have everything in place, then, for an official clinic opening date of 2 May, co-incident with our arrival for our next medical mission trip.

What is left to be done at the clinic is for them to put a water tank on the roof and hook up the water lines, run a sewer line and connect it into the school’s existing septic tank, knock down the perimeter wall between the clinic front door and the street (which is also the edge of the main city square!) and build an iron fence opening there.

A representative of a medical nutrition peanut butter nourishment organization in Cap Haitian came to meet with us about keeping height and weight charts on kids as we administer their product to them, both for research and for immediate care.

Father Max and his crew were excellent, as usual. Consummate hosts. The interpreters, led by Joseph Mario Loremy, were wonderfully hard workers and caring. Their names were:

Joseph Mario Loremy
Volcy Mikarno
Cheridor Eunide
Pierre Robinson
Lumens Rene Joochim
Dessalines Claude
Mme Waldano Auguste

Russell Park, official team magician and photographer, kept us and our patients highly entertained the whole week, while energetically documenting all of our accomplishments with his characteristic flare for capturing the story behind the pictures as only a seasoned professional can. Thanks for all your selfless energies, Imperious Rex.

Here are the names of all the other team members:

Barry Drew
Debra Elliot
Destin Fisher
Karlie Fisher
Kevin Mayer
Mike McCance
Ty McVicker
Jacob Smith
Jennifer Smith
Brett Sloan
Taylor Jaicks
Nick Kibbee
Marianne Wood
Amy Woessner

They were a magnificent group caring for ‘the people’.

Dr Jim


One Response to “5 days of surgical and medical care in Gonaives: 23 surgical cases and 1500 patients treated”

  1. Judi Says:


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