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.