From June 5th to June 12th 2010, I had the opportunity to be the volunteer prosthetist at the Field Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti supported by the University of Miami’s Project Medishare. Project Medishare has had a presence in Haiti since 1994. The initial efforts focused on community health and development in the central plateau. However, after the earthquake in January 2010, tents were erected at the Port-au-Prince airport to serve as a field hospital until a structurally sound building could be arranged.
My week in Haiti was an amazing experience. My first day there happened to be the big moving day into a permanent facility. We transported the field hospital supplies, patients, and equipment from the tents at the airport to the Bernard Mevs hospital in the city. The partnership with Bernard Mevs is an exciting opportunity to provide education and training to the existing Haitian staff so they can one day run the hospital without foreign assistance. We spent a lot of time unpacking, organizing, and reorganizing everything. Meanwhile, there was a crowd of patients at the gate every morning to be treated. Bernard Mevs is the only hospital in Haiti with critical care and trauma capabilities. Much of my time was spent evaluating, delivering, and adjusting lower extremity prostheses, but I also did some orthotic fabrication and assisted with physical/occupational therapy and wound care. I was working with a fantastic group of international volunteers and Project Medishare workers as well as Haitian technicians and hospital staff.
Project Medishare is always in need of nurses, therapists, and physicians to donate their time and/or supplies. If you are interested please e-mail me at Lara@ctechprosthetics.com, or call me at 303-346-1906 for more information. You can also learn more from their website, www.projectmedishare.org