Friday, July 3, 2009

Back to the Wards

Friday, July 3, 5:15 PM (I worked today, did you???)
Welcome to this site and please pass on this address I have tried everything in the world and cannot post to

So this morning was spent back on the wards. Rounds with the surgeons after morning conference which was an interesting public health presentation comparing TB rates in Haiti and Ethiopia.

The hospital is packed with stretchers in the hallway and in the middle of already crowded 6 bed wards. There is no privacy. Men and women are not segregated. Dressings are changed out in the open. No one seems to mind; that is just the way that it is.

Every Parkland therapist would have cringed today to see the dry extensor tendon on the back of a hand that has not yet been grafted. The area was dressed with a normal saline wet bandage (I hope it is soaked off, but can't be sure). There is little hope for that tendon. The young Swiss surgeon that made rounds with us today agreed.

That Swiss surgeon is the same one who was here with his wife when Beth Ellsworth and I came here in 2007. It is really good to see him again. His wife did not come this time because she is pregnant.

The hospital sees many patients suffering from various forms of trauma, including a lot of broken bones. Today I found out that there are no crutches available at HAS! There are only a couple of pairs in the PT Dept that are used for teaching patients. Families must then go to another town to buy crutches; there are none in Deschapelles. No one adjusts them for the patient, and some that we saw with out-pts. today are so worn that they can't be adjusted anyway. I can only shake my head.

I spent some time late this afternoon poking around in the PT area and trying to organize supplies. Everything there is covered with a thick layer of dust and neglect. I found some supplies that I left here long ago. I put up an overhead pulley system to use that was just lying tangled in a box. I brought a lot of stuff, but as usual, there is much more needed.

If anyone is interested in the history of PT at HAS, there are piles of old notes dating back to the 1990's. They are pretty much just rotting away.

Last night around 1:00 AM we had a huge tropical rainstorm and it looks like it might be getting ready to let loose again, so will go.

Happy Fourth of July! Judy


  1. Thank you so much for blogging this journey and for the car for the weekend prior to sending Will to Niger. Much love P and J

  2. Judy,

    Glad to hear from you!!! I'm not sure if I should email to your earthlink or just post to comments here.

    I've been reading your blog and I can't thank you enough for the eye-opening journey. It sure does make you wonder "why", doesn't it? Like you say, we are so grotesquely overly indulged... Reading your posts helps put things in the proper perspective for me.

    Are you drinking enough water? Can you drink the local water or do you have to stick to bottled?

    Things here are chugging along... We will have to have dinner when you get back and get caught up.

    Take care and keep those posts coming...