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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Day 2 in Haiti: Broken bones, broken AC, but an unbroken will.

I’m expecting that if I complain that the air conditioning in the OR is broken, I may get a few angry responses from those still in winter’s headlock.

Yesterday was crazy busy but still exciting.  Yes, I did get that femur fixed and the team saw over 50 patients in the clinic.

Every step forward is a reminder of how many more there are ahead. Lots to be done.

So glad the Halifax team will be here next week. This is a relay and you are only as good as the ones you hand the baton off to. The folks of the Halifax team are among the best.

It’s tough being away from the kids. That gets even tougher when you’re thousands of miles away and your child is in pain. Yeah, little fright from home yesterday when one of my kids had an orthopedic issue.  Thank you so much to the team at home for all your help. He’s ok but still he’s on my mind every minute and it kills me not to there for him.  One day I hope he will recognize how lucky we are to have the Janeway. The kids don’t have that here. Someday I hope they will.

I believe the reminders and comparisons of where we are to where we come from are important. Hard, but so important. The team visited the general hospital in downtown Port-au-Prince yesterday.  It’s incredibly sad to see the despair and frightening to think of the fate of some of these patients. I could tell by the looks on every team member’s face that we all walked away wanting to do more. We will. None of us are giving up on this place.

Huge thunder and lightening storms cooled the compound and brought much needed rain to the country last night.

Back at our hospital, I keep thinking of my little guy at home as I watch the pediatric nurses doing such an amazing job.  Triage has been a force. What a great team. Better together, I always say.

Ah the AC is finally working in the OR.   Need to take advantage of this window.   

– Andrew

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Posted by on March 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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No Snow. No Problem! Day One in Haiti.

I miss my family, my kids especially. I miss my friends. What I don’t miss? The never-ending WINTER in St. John’s! It was a long day’s travel yesterday, through Montreal and Miami but I gotta say, and don’t hate me for saying it, the hot breezes of Port-au-Prince were quite welcomed by our team!

Some last minute drama before we left… one of our doctors hurt her back and couldn’t come and we had to call up a spare in the last minutes.   Luckily, Dr. Noftall was able to offer his services literally just minutes before we left!   That’s this team’s dedication… true testament to the model we have created. Everyone’s ready to do what it takes.

No rest for the travel weary! We all hit the ground running with a busy trauma in the ER.  All hands were on deck and we all slip back into Haiti mode like true trauma veterans.

Last night set the precedent. Busy clinic again this morning and Art and Sonia haven’t stopped assessing a lot of patients.

Always a reminder of where we are… broken ventilators have slowed us down today. You forget sometimes that luxury of “just get another.” Not here.  But one thing Haiti has taught me is that there’s nothing teamwork can’t solve.   The MacGyver skills of Frank Noel and Heather O’Rielly are on it! Armed with only chewing gum and a Band-Aid, they could make rocket fuel.

Anthony Germain is getting his first taste of the pace here. Looking forward to hearing his first impressions.

Thanks for all the well wishes…keep that good karma comin’.

Got to go fix a femur!

– Andrew

 

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Posted by on March 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Things to do during the longest winter since the Ice Age.

Is it me or does this winter feel like it has been three winters long?

Suddenly the balmy heat of Port-au-Prince doesn’t seem so bad!

It’s been a crazy-busy year so far and yet it feels we’re just getting started. So much on the go. So much coming up. It’s exciting. It’s intimidating. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So far the New Year has meant new partnerships and new teams.

After Dr. Barter’s successful rural trip last year, there’s now a second team in  Haiti with Haiti Village Health. This is an amazing development as we start to grow our mission throughout the country. More reach means more people receive badly needed medical attention.

Speaking of teams, our roster continues to grow. We’ve got a Vancouver team ready to go in the spring and an Ottawa team planning a trip for later in the year. This is the momentum we all want. More people getting involved means we do so much more for the people of Haiti.

How does it all play out? Well, I love the way our March mission is working out. The Newfoundland team will start with a trip at the end of the month. We then hand things over to our Halifax team for their mission. The Halifax teams then gives the puck to a specialized Calgary team that’ll handle tendon transfers specifically. Then the team from Vancouver in May.  Four teams working a quasi relay race of medical attention. I love it.

The last few months have also meant a lot of speaking engagements and interviews to continue getting the word out on what Broken Earth is doing and wants to do in Haiti. The media has been so supportive of Broken Earth and we’ve had amazing write-ups in Halifax and Calgary, which are bringing nation-wide coverage of our endeavor. In fact, on our next mission to Haiti we will be bringing the CBC’s Anthony Germain. He’s been a great supporter of our work and I’m hoping this trip will give him a first-hand look as to why we are all driven to go back, again and again.

In Haiti, we are set to launch our first formal education course in May with approval of the location and partnerships with Haiti’s residency programs.  It will be an amazing event with orthopedic surgeons from across the country waving the Team Broken earth flag!

Well, it’s only March. Just a couple of weeks away from the next trip. It’s funny how time just races by when you need it most. Lots of planning to do. You’ve all probably seen the announcement for Rock Op 2014. Gonna be another amazing event and I want to see ALL of you there! The Once will take the stage and where else can you taste the talents of the best chefs in the city all under one roof?!

Speaking of fundraising, we’ve been getting a lot of support from some truly amazing people.  Dedicated nurses organizing everything from pubs nights to fitness events. Every bit counts!

In the meantime, the Ted X talk that Dr. Bridger and I gave is now online for all to view. To be honest, I haven’t been able to watch it yet… it’s just too strange to watch yourself!  That being said I am scheduled to speak for what seems like 100 times over the next few months as the Honorary chair of Volunteer week.  I am super excited about it and looking forward to spreading the Broken Earth story to all of the other exceptional volunteers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

You can check out the TEDx video here…

Take care and make sure to get your Rock Op tickets early! If the last two years are any example, it’ll sell out quick!

Best,

Andrew

 

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Posted by on March 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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