Tuesday, December 28, 2010

haitibones.org: It's Not Too Late...

to donate to the Hopital Adventiste Ortho Project and still claim a deduction on your 2010 Income Tax Return! We're all bombarded with pleas for financial assistance this time of year but I cannot think of a purer philanthropic endeavor as 100% of your tax-deductable donation will go directly to patient care...no administrative fees whatsoever. In addition, I've never met anyone who can stretch a buck further than Scott or the Dietrichs.

Some of the more pressing needs are as follows:
  • Travel expenses for OEC tech to recalibrate C-arm damaged during power fluctuations - ($1,000)
  • Funding for Vieja (Dominican OR nurse, worth her weight in gold) to return for 4 1-week reorganization stints - ($3,000)
  • Set of reusable, heavy-duty cloth surgical gowns - ($5000)
  • Doubling of inverter capacity to protect electronics against power fluctuations - ($6,000)
  • Funding for Ortho Technician training program - ($10,000)
  • Funding for Haitian anesthesiologist to commit to at least 2 full days a week - ($1,000/month)
  • Second OEC 9600 C-arm as this would enable the team to perform simultaneous cases that require imaging as well as serve as a backup - ($50,000)
  • Renovating the Operating Theatre (creating additional room, enlarging existing rooms - ($100,000)
  • Indigent patient fund (presently care is free but in order for the hospital to survive, this policy will be forced to change sooner rather than later) - ($$$$$)
If you're inclined to contribute, simply click here and under the Comments section write "HAH Ortho" and/or any other specific instructions you desire.

Thanks for the continued support of your thoughts and prayers. Not only are your fiscal contributions greatly appreciated, but there exists an ongoing critical need for short-term volunteers, especially surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses. Feel free to contact Terry and Jeannie directly at tj.dietrich99@gmail.com for more information.

Full post available at haitibones.org

Friday, December 17, 2010

UN calls for probe into origin of Haiti cholera

The United Nations secretary-general plans to call for an independent commission to study whether UN peacekeepers caused a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 2,400 people in Haiti, an official said Wednesday.
UN officials initially dismissed speculation about the involvement of peacekeepers. The announcement indicates that concern about the epidemic's origin has now reached the highest levels of the global organisation.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti — A relative of a man suffering from cholera symptoms asks for help to place the ill man into this ambulance, before transferring him from a cholera treatment centre at an earthquake displaced camp to a hospital in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, December 14, 2010. The cholera outbreak has killed at least 2,000 people and sickened nearly 100,000 in Haiti since October. (Photo: AP)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

KCI always willing to go the extra mile

As team Gabriel prepared for their third journey to Haiti, their need for supplies evolved up to the last minute.  Hopital Adventiste was once flooded with donations from an amazing volunteer effort immediately after the earthquake.  Unfortunately, what was once a fully stocked and efficiently running hospital succumbed to diminishing donations and apprehensive volunteers, unsure of the declining situation.  This meant even the most basic of supplies were in high demand and difficult to access.  With just 48 hours to prepare, the Gabriel Team again summoned the help of KCI.  Without delay, the wonderful folks at KCI brought together the necessary supplies to make their mission trip successful.  Thanks to all those who made it possible.  Your extraordinary efforts are greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brooke returns for a day!

Pictured from left: Sheriden Edwards, Alex Soroceanu, Julie Kirk, Brooke Beck, Cassie Gabriel, MD, Allen Gabriel, MD

The Gabriel Team was greated with an unexpected and welcome surprise this morning as nurse, Brooke Beck, returned to help with club foot clinic.   Brook spent several months at Hopital Adventiste before leaving for another job opportunity back in June.  We had a chance to work with her before her departure and it was very sad to see her leave.  She was a huge asset to the daily operation at Adventiste and an outstanding nurse.  Unfortunately,  because of the cholera explosion in her area she only can stay a few hours before she has to return to her clinic.

Disease and frustration igniting tension for approaching holiday

With the onset of so many cases of cholera, haitians are blaming foreign volunteers for infection. This creating a tense situation outside the hospital.  More and more bodies are piling up outside the makeshift cholera treatment tent since no one wants to claim them, and the stench is overwhelming.  Even as the they attempt to move the bodies, the transport truck is stoned by angry and frustrated haitians, leaving them no choice but to dump them back on hospital grounds.

The political uproar with the upcoming elections is also intensifying the situation within the capital city and volunteer teams that were scheduled to arrive later in the week are beginning to cancel.  The team is faced with the difficult decision of canceling elective surgeries because patients will not be able to receive follow up care in the coming weeks. 

Tomorrow marks a landmark holiday in Haiti's long and difficult history of French rule.  The Battle of Vertieres Day was the last major battle of the Second War of Haitian Independence and for most Haitians this is a reminder of the ongoing occupation of UN Forces within Haiti. This could spark more unrest as not only are Haitians blaming UN forces for infecting them with cholera, but the majority of Haitians vehemently oppose their presence.

Rising to the challenge

The Gabriel team has been kicking into high gear since their arrival on Saturday.  With the ortho group from Vancouver and two anesthesiologist, cases are being lined up with efficiency and precision.  Everyone is stepping up to help where they can even amongst the difficult and sometimes frustrating circumstances.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Team flies into action at Hopital Adventiste

Special Thanks To Our Supporters!

We would like to thank several special people for stepping up during this time of need for Haiti and to prepare for the team for their journey:

Thanks to Waste Connections who generously donated $5000 towards the relief effort!  This is an unprecedented gift and we cannot thank you guys enough for your generosity!! 

We would also like to thank Kristi Griffiths from Delta Airlines was able to waive the extra luggage fee to allow much needed supplies to make their way into Haiti.  This is so important as the situation is even more dire than after the earthquake and supplies that flooded into the region immediately after have already been used up.  Kristi thanks so much for making this possible.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gabriel Team Returns to Haiti

Shelby and Cassie get things ready before heading to the airport

Cassie and Shelby pose with suitcases full of supplies headed to haiti
The Gabriel team anxiously awaits their journey to Port Au Prince

The Gabriel teams piles in the transport van heading to Hopital Adventiste

The Gabriel Team has returned to Haiti for the third time since the devastating earthquake back in January. This group is the largest so far as twelve volunteers have stepped up to support the tremendous need that has increased tenfold since an outbreak of cholera has made it's way through the recently flooded country.   Thousands of confirmed cases have already been reported and few who get sick are able to survive.

Hopital Adventiste is an entirely different place now.  Hundreds of seemingly endless boxes of supplies that once lined the hallways have been used up and very few people inhabit the hospital grounds.  Back in June, the Adventiste campus doubled as a residence for hundreds of displaced earthquake victims and hospital volunteers. It was a busy place and people piled into the halls in hopes to receive free care from the generous volunteer based staff.  Families and children old and young would occupy the waiting areas and a the quite murmur of conversation in creole would provide a reminder of life as usual following such immense devastation.  Volunteers were regularly scheduled each week and there was a semblance of organization and hope.

Today, all the volunteers have been relocated or have left entirely.  Since Haiti's policy of free healthcare for all had expired back in June, few people have the means to get healthcare.  Surgery cases are limited to those who have the means to pay for care.  Team Gabriel are currently the only team at Adventiste and while they have several cases lined up for the beginning of the week, they might be headed to another camp to treat immediate cases of cholera. To make things worse, the C-arm, a critical piece of equipment for orthopedic cases is broken.

It is a picture that no one here probably expected after the overwhelming support that came in after the earthquake. But it's a grim reminder that the situation in Haiti remains bleak and continues to decline.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hospitals Awash With Supplies But Struggle To Pay Staff

From Haitibones.org — In the months following the January 12 earthquake, donated medical equipment and supplies were shipped into Haiti by the container-full, overwhelming hospitals across this disaster-ravaged nation. Much of it will never get used, and even worse, the unopened boxes sometimes obstruct doctors from locating supplies they actually need to treat patients.
But organizations seem unwilling to donate the one thing Haitian hospitals say they desperately need: Money that can be spent at their discretion, for things like salaries, fuel for the generator, and oxygen.
Read the rest of the story by Sarah Ryley here.

Image of donated supplies at Hopital Adventiste by Tamara Fitzpatrick.

Haiti still waiting for pledged US aid

Jonathan M. Katz and Martha Mendoza, Associated Press — Nearly nine months after the earthquake, more than a million Haitians still live on the streets between piles of rubble. One reason: Not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived.

The money was pledged by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in March for use this year in rebuilding. The U.S. has already spent more than $1.1 billion on post-quake relief, but without long-term funds, the reconstruction of the wrecked capital cannot begin.

With just a week to go before fiscal 2010 ends, the money is still tied up in Washington. At fault: bureaucracy, disorganization and a lack of urgency, The Associated Press learned in interviews with officials in the State Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the White House and the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy. One senator has held up a key authorization bill because of a $5 million provision he says will be wasteful.

Meanwhile, deaths in Port-au-Prince are mounting, as quake survivors scramble to live without shelter or food. "There are truly lives at stake, and the idea that folks are spending more time finger-pointing than getting this solved is almost unbelievable," said John Simon, a former U.S. ambassador to the African Union who is now with the Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank.

Nor is Haiti getting much from other donors. Some 50 other nations and organizations pledged a total of $8.75 billion for reconstruction, but just $686 million of that has reached Haiti so far - less than 15 percent of the total promised for 2010-11.

The lack of funds has all but halted reconstruction work by CHF International, the primary U.S.-funded group assigned to remove rubble and build temporary shelters. Just 2 percent of rubble has been cleared and 13,000 temporary shelters have been built - less than 10 percent of the number planned.

Last week the inaction bore tragic results. On Friday an isolated storm destroyed an estimated 8,000 tarps, tents and shacks in the capital and killed at least six people, including two children. And the threat of violence looms as landowners threaten entire camps with forced eviction.

In Washington there is confusion about the money. At a July hearing, Ravij Shah, director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, thanked members of Congress for approving the funds, saying, "The resources are flowing and are being spent in country."

It wasn't true then, and still hasn't happened.

full story here

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Voices of Haiti

Professional photographer Jeremy Cowart was deeply moved by the earthquake in Haiti. After feeling like the television reports from the region were just a heartless display of numbers and statistics he wondered "How were the people feeling?"  He decided to go to Port-Au-Prince himself and ask them directly. His question was simply "What do you have to say about all this?" His photo essay reveals the many answers to that question. See the photos here.


Friday, August 13, 2010

A very special lady

Marian larson, Age 80
Prior to the announcement of our second trip to Haiti in June, we had already put word out of our return in the future. Friends and coworkers rallied behind the news and began putting together supplies and donations. Since we had just been there in May, we had a better sense of the immediate needs of the Haitian people and Hopital Adventiste. When we heard it would be just just three weeks later, we scrambled to rally support.

A coworker of mine, Louise Craig, had been on several mission trips to Africa and informed me that she knew of a woman from her church who had been making children's clothing, with the intent to donate it on their next mission trip. I asked if she would be willing to donate a portion of what she had made for the children of Haiti. Happily, she agreed. Although I had no idea just how special these articles of clothing were.

Louise summoned the help of her former Pastor, V.J. Puccinelli, to take care of the logistics. He was able to deliver two large suitcases full of these amazing clothes directly to me office. He told me about this lovely woman, Marian Larson, who has spent the last several years lovingly hand-crafting clothing for children living in poverty. She had hoped that they would bring joy to the children and families of Haiti. The only thing she wanted in return is a photo as a keepsake of her tireless effort.

In addition to patients at Hopital Adventiste and families living amongst the hospital grounds, we were able to distribute these beautiful and colorful garments throughout Port au Prince and in a surrounding tent community. Children were overjoyed to receive such wonderful gifts. Mothers, daughters and hospital volunteers all admired the beautiful fabrics and colors that were used in the making of these clothes.

Thank you Marian for your generosity and craftmanship. I have no doubt that they will be worn for years to come and passed down to other family members as Haiti rebuilds.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Local news brings Haiti back into the forefront

On the eve of the six month anniversary of January's devastating earthquake, networks are putting Haiti briefly back into the news. A local news affiliate KGW recently interviewed Dr.'s Allen and Cassie Gabriel live on their evening show to discuss their trip to Haiti. We were fortunate to receive a good amount of promotion to increase awareness of the situation in Haiti, as well as increase blog viewership and potential donors to Hopital Adventiste. If you did not get a chance to see the interview you can see it below.

Also, several weeks back Fox 12 Oregon did a story with Dr. Gabriel and Shelby Gialich right before our second return to Port Au Prince. You can watch the entire story here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Better Path For Haiti's Recovery

Ruth Messinger is part of Change.org's Changemakers network, comprised of leading voices for social change.

It appears that Haiti's "15 minutes of fame" are up. With few exceptions, the journalists who flooded the zone following the earthquake are nowhere to be seen. And the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee's harsh criticism of the rebuilding effort six months after the earthquake is a sign that patience is wearing thin. Meanwhile, the lives of Haitians on the ground are still appalling — over a million in tent cities and squatter villages, rain flooding their streets, rape on the rise, too many basic services not restored.

In its recent report, the Senate Committee specifically pointed to the Haitian government's failure to address immediate needs, such as clearing rubble and moving hundreds of thousands of people to durable shelters in time for hurricane season. But the report also recognized the need for a more robust vision for how this island nation will thrive 20 years from now, and it has identified 10 keys for a successful long-term rebuilding effort. These included creating a plan of action, building Haitian government leadership, coordinating international aid and integrating the voices and interests of Haitian people - Haitian civil society - into the rebuilding process. It's this final recommendation that has not received nearly enough attention, from anybody.

Read the full article here.

Haiti, Six Months After the Earthquake

July 12 marked the six-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti that killed as many as 300,000 people and left much of the country in ruins. Up to 1.8 million people are living in squalid tent cities, with inadequate sanitation, if any, no electricity and little security, or any respite from the intense heat and the worsening rains. Rape, hunger and despair are constant threats to the people stranded in the camps. Six months ago, the world seemed united with commitments to help Haiti recover. Now, half a year later, the rubble remains in place, and misery blankets the camps, layered with heat, drenched by rain. Read the full article.

You can also listen to the Podcast.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thank You KCI!

KCI Wound V.A.C.s next a patient's bed as their wounds are treated
A young man winces from his painful wound while Dr. Gabriel checks the Wound V.A.C. machine
Here in the United States, we take many things for granted. Most of us have immediate access to our most basic needs and beyond at all times. When ill, we have the advantage of consulting physicians who initiate a plan of care, follow up on this care and see us through, until hopefully we are well again. Supplies needed for surgeries and follow-up care are readily available at hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide in large amounts.
When we arrived at Hospital Adventiste in Haiti it became blatantly obvious that people are continuing to suffer from neglected injuries brought on by the horrific earthquake four months prior. We saw many malnourished children with non-healing wounds who were more than likely nutritionally compromised prior to the earthquake. The combination of neglect, lack of readily available supplies and minimal access to food and water for our patients can be discouraging. As healthcare providers traveling internationally to devastated areas, we can only hope that medical supply companies will stand by our side and assist in providing aid to the impoverished world through generous donations of supplies.
With the help of KCI Wound V.A.C. therapy, many of our grateful patients have been given a chance to rebuild their lives in spite of the physical obstacles surrounding them. With NWPT (Negative Wound Pressure Therapy) available at the hospital we are seeing wounds heal and avoiding amputations. Length of inpatient stays are decreasing due to the acceleration of the healing process with the assistance of the Wound V.A.C.. Children who were left orphaned by the earthquake are being given hope through healing. Through hard work they are gaining back the mobility they would have otherwise been deprived of, were it not for the incredible technology of KCI. In anticipation of our arrival, 10 additional V.A.C. systems were sent to the hospital in Haiti and ready to be placed on patiently waiting earthquake victims.
Thank you to Anthony Tate, Lydia Galarza and the reps at KCI for providing the patients and volunteers with continued support through donation. In order to rebuild a country you must begin with its people. As we help heal patients, we help heal a nation.