Monthly Archives: May 2013

Routines and Real Momentum

Talking to team members last week, it struck me how quickly we all snap back in to our own routines. Work. Family. Sleep. Work. Family. Sleep. It does feels good but more often I think about the work left to do in Haiti.

Last week, Deb Noseworthy did an amazing presentation on her experiences as a physiotherapist with Broken Earth in Haiti. The focus in Haiti has been on emergency services with support services falling short. Deb faced the enormity of challenge with determination and professionalism. She touched a lot of people there.

Also last week, we made some great progress on our clean water initiative for the hospital in Haiti. Our friends at Columbus Communications have been keeping their foot on the pedal and the project’s gaining speed.

Had some good news from the hospital too. They received a solar power set-up and it’s now up and running. Reminded me of the blackout last time we were there. Amazing the things we take for granted. Here’s a place struggling for a regular power source and something that sounds as simple as clean water.

Lots of good momentum though, gotta stay focused on that. Been planning the orthopedics education course for October’s mission. Also started planning the Broken Earth Fun Run with the Running Room as well as a golf tournament with our friends at Glendenning. That’ll be a blast for sure. Stay tuned on that one!

Got a busy week ahead. Looking forward to speaking at the National Radiation Technician Conference as well as the Work Place Health and Safety Conference. Spreading the word on Broken Earth, the amazing team we have and the change we are all determined to make.






Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Thank a nurse this week

Been thinking about a question Anthony Germain asked me yesterday about the transition from working in Haiti and working here. I believe it’s made a little easier because there’s always such an amazing team around you in both places.

I think that’s so important. Surround yourself with the best and it’ll make you better no matter what.

It’s kinda fitting then that this is National Nursing Week, a week dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the amazing, often unsung job that our nurses do everyday in hospitals, clinics, and communities around the world.

I know what we do in Haiti would not be possible without them.

We’ve had close to 100 nurses volunteer with Team Broken Earth. I think about Jackie teaching CPR, Mary giving everything she has to resuscitate a baby, Pam caring for a crying and scared child in the OR, or working solo in an overcrowded ward. I have had the privilege of working with some of the very best and I salute you all.

Whether you know a nurse or not, your life has been in some way touched by one. Please take a moment to give them a simple thanks!

Settling back into life in the 709. Lots of exciting stuff ahead for Broken Earth. Dr. Natalie Bridger and I will be doing a presentation for TEDx St. John’s in June. And we have fundraising events coming this summer.

I do miss the 30+ temps of Port-au-Prince but the weather’s great for St. John’s this time of year. Get out and enjoy it.





Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Uncategorized


Day 7: this flight tonight

Early rise in Port-au-Prince this morning. Everyone got on the move at 4:45 AM. Bags to pack, final notes to write.

Left the hospital around 7. It’s always an emotional moment. We’ve worked closely with the dedicated team at the hospital. They’ve become family to us. They care as much for us as we do for them.

You think about all the people you’ve helped, tried to help, comforted or changed. The ones you’ve lost. The kids. The smiles. The look of relief on the ones who make it in the gate, the despair of the ones who don’t. At the end of the day you have to believe that you’ve done everything you could while you were here. You know so much more is needed and it strengthens your resolve to come back. Haiti, I promise our team won’t give up on you.

I’m so proud of our work here. So proud of this team. After nine missions we’ve got the teamwork down. I think our growth in the future missions will be on education. We’re so fortunate to work with such talented people and to have access to their knowledge. Share it out to our Haitian colleagues. You know that old expression… teach a man to fish and work yourself out of a job! Hahaha

Flight’s called for good ol’ NL.

Settle in for the flight, have a cold beer, maybe catch a bit of the game, I think Westjet’s carrying it live.

Exhausted. Already thinking about October’s trip. Can’t wait to see my wife and kids.

See you on the other side folks.





Posted by on May 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


Day 6: Last day for mission nine.

This is the last day of our ninth mission here in Haiti and it’s always hard. It’s hard because we still have to turn away patients.

It’s hard because there’s momentum for change and you want to keep on pushing.

To do more.

To help who you can, how you can.

Yesterday’s trip to a nearby orphanage did a lot to lift spirits. What an amazing place. Close 100 orphans, some with real medical issues but the pediatricians said they are doing well and extremely well cared for. So touching and uplifting to see. We brought food, clothes and soccer balls (always a hit with the kids). Thanks to all for donating. Wish you could the smiles on their faces. One little guy even ran away with Dr. Jewer’s glasses and wouldn’t give them back! Hope grows no matter what.

Day started before 7 in the OR.

Pediatrics is maxed with patients. One teen is being treated for a spinal cord injury. She was shot while trying to protect her mother. The bullet left her paralyzed and she can only turn side to side to avoid pressure sores. She’s such a smart kid. Sadly, bullet wounds are a common reality here.

The team decided to pitch in and get her an iPad so she can use it to for education and for enjoyment. Natalie and Leigh Anne did an amazing job… as usual!

We’re all feeling the fatigue but this is a team that, no matter how tired, sprints to the finish. After seven long days and nights, everyone’s still committed, still driven. We all plan on working late into the night on cleft lip repair. Sleep maters little when you can change a child’s life forever.

Again, thank you all for the comments on my blog as well as the comments on Facebook and tweets. Trust me, the team sees them and are so moved and inspired by them. For those looking to get involved or to donate, please visit

We’ve still got so much work to do Haiti. Keep well my Haitian friends. See you in October.

My 4-year-old asked my wife Alison “someday, when daddy is not working in Haiti, can he pick me from school?” That made me smile. Like everyone here, I can’t wait to get home to family and friends.

First thing for me will be a family date and a trip to a school parking lot.


– Andrew



Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


Day 5: BBQs, power failures & our amazing nurses

Funny how hearing familiar accents can make you homesick.

The BBQ at the Canadian Consulate last night was a welcomed break. So good to see the maple leaf! Premier Dunderdale even sent along a special message of support. Recharging our batteries. Our night got cut short as we got called back to the hospital for an emergency trauma.

The place was in darkness when we got back.

The generator was down but luckily Dr. Steve Major and Geralyn Lambe did an incredible job in stabilizing the patient.

Everyone knew what to do. Pediatrics kept on caring for patients with minimal light. So proud of this team!

Didn’t take long for the heat to settle in this morning.

Geralyn was back at it first thing with another trauma patient.

You’d swear MUN Med resident Steph Peters was doing this for years, handling the ICU like a seasoned veteran. 

This afternoon, Art and Frank got to spend several hours with local medical students. Can’t think of two better mentors.

Got a nice lift from the Grade 6 students of Beachy Cove Elementary. They made a $500 donation today to Project Stitch. Nice to see that kinda spirit in the next generation. Thank you so much! This will be a nice boost to this important project.

Part of the team is on a visit to a local orphanage. Can’t wait to hear their stories when they get back. Those kids are so special.

Been thinking about Geralyn and Mary and all the amazing nurses that I’ve had the great fortune to work with, here and at home. Their dedication. Their empathy. Their endless energy. It really keeps me going and I so much value their input and effort.

We have just 24 hours left on this trip and there’s still so much to do. Our team will operate through the night, make the most of that time.

– Andrew





Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


Day 4: hard nights & the fidelity of hope

It was a tough night last for our pediatric crew. For us all. There were two kids brought in and the team did everything they could. Sadly, we lost both after every effort was exhausted.

We could use your good thoughts right now.

It’s Labour Day in Haiti so it’s a little less chaotic. Three orthopedic surgeries completed before 3 pm, including a donated hip replacement.

Two cleft lips repaired as well.

Everyone’s on their second, third and fourth winds.

Need some good karma. And it came in the form of the arrival of the engineers and hospital planners. These guys were assessing the needs of the hospital. Some major problems to overcome or, as they put it, “mountains beyond mountains.” I know we’ll get there. Plans are coming together that’ll include a water treatment facility to supply clean water for the hospital. Talk about something you take for granted. Clean water.

Good karma for sure. I know Brendan Paddick will punch me for saying this but I hope he knows what impact his involvement and generosity has had and will have here. He joined us here at the hospital two missions ago and saw the tremendous need first hand. The engineers were sponsored by Brendan’s company, Columbus Communications, and the impact of this project will change so many lives here.

Truly a blessing having him and his team onboard.

So thankful to all our supporters.

My mood’s changed so much since this morning. Feeling the hope again. That thing inside you that just reignites your spirit. We treated two more kids this afternoon. They came from Karen Huxter’s orphanage, not far from here. Karen is a fellow Newfoundlander doing the 709 proud.

The BBQ is tonight at Canadian Embassy. Looking forward to meeting the officials and taking a little break.

Back at it again tomorrow.

– Andrew

Ps. Thanks so much for the feedback, the follows and the kind notes of support. You guys really inspire us to do more and make you proud.



Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Mission 9