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Medical Missions Trip to Haiti

October 15, 2018

Dear Friends and Family,

 

Our Medical Missions trip to Haiti has come and gone already.   We all returned home safely last night.

 

I want to thank each and everyone of you for your prayers and generous donations.  Without all of the donations we would not have been able to provide the care for the Haitian people who live far from the capital.  We were in Bonne Fin Haiti (south west  Haiti on top of a mountain 1,000 feet above sea level).

 

These missions trips strengthen our skills.  We all have had to multi task many times through out each day.  Each team member is able to use their specialty skills from our American education.  We feel that we have a special skill to offer the developing countries.  One thing that most people in the US don't realize is that we return home we are more experienced and have improved our skills significantly because we are forced to work closely with all of the health care workers for each patient that is seen for clinic, therapy, or surgery.  We need to be creative because of the lack of supplies.  Everyone of us had to step out of our comfort zone and perform tasks that we were not used to.

 

The surgeons were able to perform many of the surgeries because of a generous donation of plates, screws, and surgical supplies from Arthrex that is located close by in Naples FL.  Many of the surgeries performed are not included in this email.  Our schedules were full every day with surgeries, therapy,  and clinic.  Some patients had to be told to wait until next year. 

 

We are all physically tired and emotionally tired when we return.  But it is worth it for a lifetime of memories and gratitude from the People and the community we served.   It is very difficult to explain our experiences.  I will try to tell a few stories  with the photos below.

 

 

Our team photo in front of Hopital Lumiere

from left to right:  Dr Duane Cumberbatch  Foot Surgeon, Connie Kurash Hand therapist, Dr Dennis Sagini Hand Surgeon, Rowena Angoluan Physical Therapist, (kneeling) Dr Ritchie Fevrier Anesthesiologist, Wayne Airgood Structural Engineer Handiman, Julia Airgood RN, Taina Julia RN

 

 

Connie performing Hand therapy on a Clermond who has a Femur fracture set with an external fixator.  He also just received hand surgery by Dr Sagini for his malrotated digits,  he required 3 plates for his metacarpal fractures.  He is grateful to have the Specialists from USA. His injuries were caused by a moto accident.  He transports people on his small motorbike like a taxi

 

 

Dr Sagini captures a golden moment after the team hands out toys to some of the children who's parents are in the hospital.  The average stay for this orthopedic unit is 6 weeks.

 

 

This spunky 80 y.o. had a very complicated surgery from Dr Cumberbatch.  She had a large mass that ruptured tendons in her foot.  She was unable to hike up and down the steep climb on a very long and narrow path up the mountain to her home. On post op day 1 she told us that she wanted to go home because she is feeling much better.

 

 

 

 

This is Alexis, he got his hand caught in a machine that makes bread.  He lost his ring and small fingers.  His hand healed with the 2 fingers malrotated and joined together with skin, the thumb was too tight with scar, he was unable to open his thumb to grasp.  Dr Sagini was able to surgically open his palm, open the 1st web space and separate the 2 digits using skin grafts.  Alexis and his wife are so grateful now.  Alexis has not been able to work for 5 years because of his injury.  When his healing is complete Alexis told me that he is now excited to start looking for a new job.  His wife is so grateful she was unable to speak to us without crying. 

 

 

 

 

Mari had a frozen arm due to poor health care management from an elbow fracture.  She required manipulation under anesthesia so that she can bend and straighten her elbow and bend her MCP joints of her hand.  After her manipulation I had to maker her 3 custom splints to stretch her joints.  Her family and friends were eager to learn and help her.  Even with the language barrier, they were proficient at donning and doffing all of her splints.  ( I did learn to speak some creole prior to this trip , it was very helpful)

 

 

 

Julia hands out a custom splint to Placide.  She had a displaced distal radius fracture with a malunion.  Her wrist pain was so high that she was unable to work as a chef.  Now that she has had the proper surgical management she can return to work.

 

 

Last year we noticed that almost every patient with an external fixator in their lower extremity had a tight Achilles Tendons.  This was so tight that it was too difficult for Rowena to work on ambulation.  So I had an idea to solve the problem for the patients.  We sewed these colorful heal cord stretchers for the patients to use.  One of Rowena's home care patients helped us with the sewing, we were able to bring 20 of them and pass them out and teach daily stretches.  The hospital can wash them in the laundry and reuse them. 

 

 

 

My favorite OR pick of Dr Sagini (left) and Dr Cumberbatch (right) working  together on a case. 

 

 

 

Every patient happily gave us their verbal permission to take their photos.  They want us to share their stories in hope that more Americans will come and help in their beloved country.   The mountains of Haiti are beautiful.  Our team has already selected a date to return next year - Oct 5th 2019 we will be returning to Bonne Finn Haiti!!!

 

Thank All of you once again for all of your prayers and support

 

Sincerely,

 

Connie Kurash

 

 

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