We were fortunate to come at a time when the infrastructure to deal with the cholera epidemic had already been set up. We were impressed by how organized, efficient and clean the cholera tents are. There are two tents set up; each can accommodate up to about 15 patients - on beds (mostly) - and one family member per patient - on the floor beside the bed. The cholera tents are set up for people who are sick enough to require intravenous fluids (milder cases of cholera are seen in a separate section for oral rehydration).
It was incredible to see how profoundly dehydrated these patients could be. Often they would require 20 or even 30 liters of IV fluids over a few days in the tents. The amount of diarrhea and vomiting is far beyond what we’re used to seeing in “regular” gastroenteritis cases. It was gratifying to see very sick patients come in… and two days later be so much better… with simple, effective therapy. Unfortunately, two patients died while we were there. It was a deeply moving thing to observe how the community mourned for these patients. Fortunately, though, many more patients who certainly would have died without this clinic, didn’t - and walked out none the worse for wear. Four Haitien doctors and seven nurses staff the tents 24 hours/day. We helped with some of the day to day running of the tents while we were there; as well, we worked with the staff to tweak some of the existing practices.
We also ran a general medical clinic during our stay. It was interesting; a nice variety of cases - patients with chronic issues like ongoing pain, gastritis, and high blood pressure; acutely sick patients with illnesses such as malaria, kidney infections, cholecystitis; a child with some bad facial burns; another with a deformed broken arm; wounds; pregnancy issues; and a plethora of other issues.
We were happy to meet some great staff: Santo and Cholo, who do the day to day running of the clnic; our translators; the docs and nurses; cooks and cleaners. And of course, Tiffany, who helped organize things from afar.
Overall, fantastic trip. Attached are a few pictures.
Danielle, Mark, and Nathan.