Day 6: L'Hopital Bernard Mevs‎, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

I know there seems to be nothing but tragedy down here, so today we will focus on some of the wonderful things happening around here.

We needed to make a plan as to how to leave our things with Ilani since she will be off on Saturday and we can't give up our sheets and towels on Friday. At her suggestion we made a plan to leave our things for her in the prosthetics lab. So we wandered up to the lab to meet the man who runs this masterful prosthetics lab. His name is Tomas and he is from Kenya. The prosthetics lab has received funding from a variety of organizations and it is very impressive even by American standards.


Tomas has designed a body brace that the hydrocephalus babies can wear to allow them to balance their heads so they can be more upright.

Body/head brace for hydrocephalus babies. Designed by Tomas

Susanne was able to sit in on a consult Tomas was doing with a man who lost his leg from the earthquake and was in need of a revised above knee prosthesis. He was making the fine adjustments and this guy was able to take off walking and even start doing some fancy dance moves!


One of the prosthetists is actually an above knee amputee himself so between he and Ilani who assists up there (second floor lab – for people without legs – doesn't make any sense (I know, it's kind of like our 4000 Civic Center Dr. PT clinic sitting at the end of a very long hallway!). There is a lot of inspiration for new patients faced with amputations.

illani_and_thomas_with prosthetic
Illani and Thomas with prosthetic leg

Elephania, our beautiful sickle cell friend went home today! – that was exciting! She was very very happy and waving goodbye to us when she left. It's weird to look over and see her empty bed, but its a good thing, right?

Mackensy was having a hard day again and at one point we looked over and both his mom and he were taking a rest leaning on each other.

Mackensy and Mom

Ok, I said I would keep it light, so let me switch gears again. Marvins, the sweetest, happiest boy with hydrocepahalus, ventured with me to the PT clinic. To be honest, I have been fearful of handling him because his head is so large that I was afraid I might drop him! However each day I have been getting braver and today we broke free of the Pedi ward and I actually got him on a table to work on head control and basic body rolling. This little guy can actually keep his head up against gravity (it is easily over 10 pounds and he probably only weighs 20).


He has a lot more potential than I originally thought and now that I know they have this option for a body brace, maybe his future wont be as grim as I initially predicted. That and some woman from an orphanage came by the other day and is thinking about adopting him and one other hydrocephalus baby.

Susanne had a great workout with an ortho patient in the clinic today. He was right up her alley! He was two months post-op Open reduction internal fixation of the lower limb bones and his doctor still had him non weight-bearing. He has complete atrophy of the quads and of course, a knee flexion contracture. So Susanne tracked down the Haitian orthopedist and inquired (as only Susanne can) just exactly why was this guy still nonweight-bearing? I believe that may have been the first time this MD has ever been questioned about a decision he has made.

And she didn't leave it at that. While holding her tongue and being as respectful a person as her parents raised her to be, she planted the seed that weight-bearing may actually be a brilliant ingredient to add to this lengthy (and somewhat ridiculous) treatment plan. He agreed to have Susanne try him with crutches tomorrow. So victory for Susanne and the patient... Only problem now will be locating a pair of crutches because in her efforts today to locate a pair, she failed miserably.

Today the local artists (and some not so local) came into the grounds of the hospital and displayed their wares. It's a little bit like an art show, only there is a bit of haggling that goes along with the display. Some of the work is very impressive and no shock to any of you out there, I will be coming home with some new pieces! It is nice to actually support the locals here in any way possible.

So we have one day left and need to get to bed so we don't start the day already feeling hungover. It is quite challenging with heat here and while I love it hot – this is really hot!

All for now,

— Jennifer and Susanne

On to Day 7...

blog comments powered by Disqus

2014 Haiti Medical Trip