Blue Sky Surgery’s first day was remarkably fluid given that these 18 individuals have not worked together before. Breakfast at 7 AM consisted of mystery meat, American cheese and fake white bread. I ate a banana with peanut butter, my dear son ate the aforementioned mystery meat. Others were complaining about the coffee, but it was hot and black, (like my trainer Vaughn) and the caffeine worked.
We arrived in clinic at 7:45 and began to “build our schedule”. We saw patients all day long and actually performed 10 surgeries day one as all of these people who came for evaluations were NPO after midnight. (NPO stands for nothing per oral aka nothing by mouth!) By the end of the day, we were a TEAM working together to care for amazing individuals with incredible stories. (I wish I spoke the language so that I could speak to the patient’s without the interpreters)
I came to Haiti prepared for general surgical cases. So here I am the breast surgeon, who last trip was doing the hernias and circumcisions, this time I have already performed two breast surgeries. I have a mastectomy and another breast case on the schedule for tomorrow. Same stuff in a different venue!
Rubin, the principle of the school that Dr. Tony has supported for years, came to visit over lunch and was presented with a generous donation from Focus Fitness Mainline where Deb does yoga. Deb Mctamney, the nurse anesthetist that the universe clearly wanted me to meet ,held a fundraiser with her yoga class from Focus Fitness for the school. The money will purchase books for the semester and pay the teachers salaries for the month.
Dr. Shashi Kumar, or Shashi as we fondly refer to him, had his first full day in the Haitian OR. Shashi trained me to perform pediatric surgery during my residence at Einstein. He retired from pediatric surgery but keeps his hands active assisting us in the OR at Holy Redeemer. He seemed to love his first day and I am certain that Haiti loves him.
LOVE WHERE YOU WORK AND WORK WHERE YOU LOVE
The reason that Double Harvest is different from our prior clinic, is the medical infrastructure. There are nurses, support staff and an amazing young physician who loves where he works and works where he loves . Our nurses this week are Sonique, Gertrude and Elsie. Dr Peter is obviously the guy!
Dr. Peter Pierrot, Dr. Peter as he is called, is the physician who is running the clinic. He has evaluated most of the patents that we will operate on and will be here to see them in follow up in the weeks to come. He has had a smile on his face since the minute we arrived and to him nothing is a problem.
He gave us a tour of the facility upon our arrival and basically said that the place is ours for the week and let him know what we need. I passed him in the hallways all day long and at the end of the day, I was evaluating a 42 yo gentleman who had obvious jaundice ( his eyes are yellow ), dehydration (lack of fluids) and was very thin. He complained of abdominal discomfort and came in with a CT scan disc. The lovely gentleman has something blocking the duct from his liver to his bowel, that’s why the bile cannot get through and he is yellow ( jaundiced).
I was in Dr. Peter’s office calling a nun who will help us get this gentleman to a hospital that can take care of his urgent needs. We administered fluids through an intravenous and God willing he will be admitted to the hospital tomorrow and obtain the care that he needs. ( We simply do not have the equipment to perform the procedures that he needs. If you are curious he needs an ERCP that will determine what is blocking his duct.)
It took several calls to Sister Dianna to finally connect and while I was waiting to reach her I had the chance to get to know Peter’s story. We all have a story, but very often we are too busy to take time to get to know the “whys” that make us who we are.
Peter grew up just up the road from the clinic. He was just a boy when they built this clinic and has been an interpreter since day #1. When he was just 6 years old, he lost his father to typhoid fever. He said that as a child his father was such a hard worker and he rarely saw him. His dad would leave for work very early and return home very late. One day he did not come home and Peter lost his father to a disease that Peter would research and determine was completely preventable. It was then that he decided to become a doctor. Without any funding it is impossible to go to medical school as a Haitian national.
He studied very hard in school and worked every chance he got as an interpreter for medical missions and services such as ours. His effort and passion paid off as he was given an opportunity to go to college and medical school thanks to Double Harvest. He went to medical school in the Dominican Republic, classes in Spanish no less, then training in the USA in English and his payback was to return to Double Harvest and work in his native language, creole. Dr. Peter’s passion and purpose is to make a difference in the lives of those in Croix de Bouquet.
He said that he has no desire to be anywhere but here in this clinic as these are his people and he loves where he works and works where he loves! We are blessed that he has welcomed our team into his clinic so that we can make a small but meaningful impact in the lives of amazing Haitians.
So Dr. Peter proves what I know to be true that if you do what you love what you do and do what you love then YOU WILL NEVER WORK A DAY IN YOUR LIFE!
Dr. Peter Pierrot and his team of nurses and support staff are my Haitian Heros