Our team of eighteen have been amazing. Seven in our group were here 18 months ago and we vowed to return. There were 7 of our 10 returning on this trip. (of the three that did not return, Flo had a baby, Diana had family commitments and Mike Coletta had the lame excuse that he couldn’t leave medical school for a week. Seriously!!)
Our fearless leader
Dr. Tony Coletta
Senior Vice President of Blue Cross
Tony came to Haiti seven years ago having answered the call from his nursing colleague, Beth who happens to be with us on this trip. On his first day of his first trip, Tony had the great fortune of being able to change the course of a 55 yo mans life by repairing a hernia that was incarcerated. (meaning it was stuck and without surgery this man would have certainly died) An operation that in the USA anyone who presented to the emergency room regardless of their ability to pay, would have certainly been repaired as it is a surgical emergency. In Haiti this would have meant this man would have left his 5 children and wife prematurely. So from that day forward Dr. Tony has a bond with the Haitians that is palpable.
Humana Regional VP provider development
Cal had the great fortune to meet Tony when they were in a meeting of “the suits” at a leadership institute in California right when the earthquake hit. He was drawn to Tony’s passion for the Haitians and wanted desperately to go to Haiti with Tony immediately after the earthquake but lacked the proper vaccinations. Cal and Tony are the dynamic duo and make things happen. Cal is in charge of all things mechanical, the instruments, the air conditioning, the food for the team and most importantly patient transportation (inside joke for the team).
Cal is in charge of logistics and is Tony’s wingman. As a former military pilot he is the perfect wing man and has vowed to be with him on all of his future trips.
Dr. John Sauter
Anesthesiologist United Anesthesia Services
John is another team leader and heads up our anesthesia department. He is an amazing anesthesiologist and has learned to do a lot with a little. He also is skilled at recruiting the right nurse anesthetists. John came to Haiti the first time with Tony just two months after the earthquake in March 2010. He had know Tony from Bryn Mawr and knew that he was a skilled surgeon and decided to answer a blast email from Tony who was looking for a team of skilled and passionate care providers. John has been here many times over the past 4 years and I am certain that this won’t be his last Haitian rodeo.
Dr Beth DuPree
Breast Surgeon Holy Redeemer Health System
I joined the Haitian surgical mission because I believe that making a difference one person at a time is a worthy cause. I came to Haiti 18 months ago and realized that Haiti has done more to enhance my life than I could ever do for the people of Haiti. The surgeries that we perform when we are here are often life changing for our patients and their gratitude and love is endless.
Dr Shashi Kumar
Pediatric Surgeon Surgical Services Holy Redeemer Health System
Shashi is a retired pediatric surgeon who assists me in the OR at Holy Redeemer. He has been listening to me talk about Haiti fro the past 18 months and when the email went out to participate in this mission trip he was one of the first to commit and has not looked back. He is a gentle soul who brought his skill, compassion and sense of humor with him and all of the team loves working with him. The children of Haiti are blessed to have him here. Me thinks he will be back!
Nurse Anesthetist United Anesthesia Services
Deb told John Sauter that she was going on his next Haitian mission before he could even send an email looking for volunteers. She had always wanted to participate in a surgical mission and decided to answer John’s call and came on aboard. She was with us on our trip 18 months ago and it filled a piece of her heart and she returned this year with her skill and her passion. She found in serving the Haitian’s that a part of her that was missing had returned. She received more from the trip than she gave and will continue to return on future mission trips. Deb is the hardest working anesthetist and has made difficult MAC cases run smoothly. (That means that patients aren’t asleep but receive sedation and local anesthesia). Deb exudes Shibumi. (that stands for effortless perfection just incase ya didn’t know what it meant)
Nurse Anesthethetist United Anesthesia Services
Leslie received John’s email and immediately asked her hubby of he minded if she took a week to go to Haiti to perform surgery on those in need. He said sure and that was it, she was on her way. She is a skilled anesthetist who is easy to work with a total team player. You cannot tell that this is her first surgical mission!
PACU nurse from Bryn Mawr
Barb is a seasoned PACU nurse who’s children had reached and age where she was able to look outside of her family to make a difference in the world. She had known Dr. Coletta for years and knew that he was an excellent surgeon, but she says that something changed in him after his first trip to Haiti. It wasn’t just a sense of humility that she saw, it was a sense of purpose for something bigger. She knew she needs to be a part of the mission trips and has been on 5 trips including this one. She was my pre-trip partner in crime as we worked to make certain that we had obtained all of the supplies we needed to be successful in Haiti. The minute you meet her you feel as if you have known her FOREVER>
OR nurse who is now in the business of developing surgi-centers.
(she’s the one who asked Tony to Haiti for the first time so THANK YOU BETHY!)
Beth has been coming to Haiti for more than 11 years and has participated in 9 surgical missions. She began her trips to Haiti with her church and answered the call to serve as the amazing healthcare worker that she is. Beth continues to return as each experience is unique and she is able to impact so many lives. On this trip, she was so brave and bold as she helped our 38 yo patient who required a mastectomy. Beth had the great fortune to be treated for breast cancer in the USA where she was able to have reconstructive surgery. She helped Marjorie to begin her healing journey by showing her what the mastectomy scar looks like and giving her hope to go on. Beth has a tremendous faith and told Marjorie to be strong for her children as they need her. Beth is a survivor, THRIVER extraordinaire and she reminds me so much of my Donna in my office who is also an amazing survivor / THRIVER. They share the same MOJO!
OR nurse Lankenau Hospital
Robin is a piece of work. She tells it like it is but is hard as a nut on the outside but is soft and squishy on the inside. Her HEART is huge and she brings her A game to the OR. Last trip she sucked it up and worked in the PACU ( post anesthesia care unit) where she wasn’t as comfortable just to be able to come on the trip. This trip I have the pleasure of working in the OR with her as my scrub nurse and circulator. She ROCKS.
Anne Marie Patton
Cape Regional Medical Center Cape May NJ
Anne Marie was recruited by Barb Thompson who happens to be her neighbor at the beach. This is Anne Marie’s second trip and she came as she has always felt that she can be of service. She was willing to participate in any mission trips and when Barb asked she answered the call. She loves the people and will continue to serve. Among the group we are convinced that she is really Sister Mary Pat, a nun in disguise. She has a laugh that is unmistakable and brought enough snacks fro a small army.
(She is also a wicked UNO player!!)
Blue Bell Surgery Center OR nurse
Molly is an OR nurse who was recruited by Deb. She has years of experience and can handle anything that is thrown at her. She came on the trip with heart, soul, skills, passion and the best baked goods that you could ever want. She is used to a fast paced day and thrives in chaos, perfect skill set for Haiti where anything can happen. I watched her ding needle point and ate her baked goods so when she opened her mouth in the OR and had some of the funniest OR humor ever even I had to blush!
OR Nurse Lankenau
Cate is a new bee to the trip. She is 28 years old who is always looking to grow as an OR nurse and loves a challenge. She is warm caring and loves what she does. She came on the trip as a recruit of Dr. Sauter. You cannot tell that she is new to this work as she performs like a seasoned veteran. She will be back. ( If she was younger I would scoop her up as a daughter-in law! I told Dean that if he brings home a woman like Deb or Cate that he would be making the best choice of his life! My son Tom already has an awesome babe, Hannah!)
EP Lab The Philadelphia VA Hospital
Tina is Dr Coletta’s niece and can eat anything in sight and does not gain an ounce! She has come on several mission trips with Tony. She is organized and hard working and brings years of experience to the team. She shares with all of us the experience that she has when patients are awakening from anesthesia. She is overwhelmed by the gratitude that they express and that they all say ” GOD BESS ALL OF YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO”. Tina simply gets it done!
Emergency Room PA The Philadelphia VA
Manny was born in Haiti. He lived here until he was 13 when his mother passed. He was then raised in Brooklyn and returns to Haiti to serve his native land. His creole is nothing short of amazing for being in the USA for so long. This is his first trip here as an assistant / interpreter. He answered the call from Tina to come along on our journey to help and heal Haiti one individual at a time. He is a true healer and has been touched by this experience. I know that he wants his children to understand how blessed they are to have privilege. He has busted his butt to get where he is in life and coming back he sees how his life might have ended up had he not moved to the USA.
ORA II assistant at Bryn Mawr Hospital
Ivon is an orderly at Bryn Mawr hospital who initially told Tony that he should not go to Haiti. Having left Haiti in the 70’s he did not feel he would want to go to Haiti. He has come back 3 times as an interpreter and realizes that coming on the surgical mission makes him part of the solution to the health care problems in Haiti. His brother, a college professor from Rutgers, retired here and we were able to meet him last evening. Yvon has been an essential member of this team and we are so blessed to have him allow us to communicate with out patients.
OR CST II El Camino Hospital
Shawn was recruited from Cal’s former hospital. He has been on one prior mission and came in not knowing anyone in our group. His last mission trip her was with one other nurse and seems to love being part of our Haiti family. He brings his skill and passion to everything he does. He is multilingual and can pretty much communicate with anyone that we run into.
Senior Moravian College Senior
Craig’s dad is Tony’s dentist and came home after a seeing Tony in the office and told Craig that there was an opportunity to join the mission team. Craig was 20 at the time he felt that the trip was better than expected. He chose to come back at 22 as he realized the importance of the role of logistical support. ( He really just wanted to spend another week with Cal and his dry sense of humor. We call then the Calisms) He says he will definitely come back again.
Senior Council Rock North High School (also my youngest son)
Dean initially came on the trip as part of his community service hours required for graduation. ( 60 in total) Last evening as we were sharing our experiences of the week to date, Dean admitted that he initially came along to fulfill the requirement and now he wants the time to go slower as it has been far more enriching of an experience than he could ever have imagined. When Dean was finished there wasn’t a dry eye in the room as everyone was touched by his sincerity.
(He was able to watch me perform surgery for the first time and had to comment that I talk a lot while I am operating. John Sauter came to my rescue and said that surgeons can talk as long as they keep working and don’t slow up the day!) I think he will be back again.
Pierre serves as our Haitian command central and an Interpreter. Tony has been working with him for the past 7 years and he is part of our team. He makes things happen. ( Today he made Mangos appear and they are out of season). Pierre worked hand in hand with me in the clinic evaluating and preparing patients for their impending surgeries. His skills are invaluable and we consider him part of the TEAM.
The TEAM from Haiti is part of our team as they have interspersed themselves within our group and they are teaching us as we are teaching them.
Included below are a few of the TEAM.
Gertrude Metellus, RN
Elsie Mede, RN
Adrienne Raymond, RN
Suze Jean, lab tech
Yvena Auguste, wound care nurse
Gladys Bien Aime, pharmcist
Lizianie Bovais, administrator
Wedline Ceant, RN
Magalie Darius, RN
Mirlaine Auberjuste ,auxiliary Nurse,
Woodny Auberjuste, auxiliary Nurse
MacKendy Telusma, lab tech
Eddy Fontain, pharmacist
Dr. Bendgy Louis, MD
Charlot Armstrong, MD
Peter Pierrot, MD
Nadine Cineus, housekeeping
Wilio Jecrois , archives
Anothalie Cineus, housekeeping
Benite Edmond, housekeeping
Marcel Anilus, housekeeping
Marie Lourde Louis, lab tech
Salvant Alexandre Junior, Dentist
Monique Saint Louis, MD
Gibsie Pierre, Secretary
Feeling welcomed in this clinic has been a gift from God.
Every morning there is a devotional outside the clinic and although we cannot understand the language, we understand that we are all simply messengers of the divine speaking different languages.