Thursday night was just like any other night after a long day of work. I was just sitting at a table with some of the summer interns, just popping open a cold coke. Then, someone came up on a truck, yelling to all of us that there’s been a HUGE accident right outside the mission. Apparently, a cow caused a 3 car pile-up, one of which was a huge tap-tap (public transportation in Haiti- about 20 ppl crammed in the back of a pick-up). When I heard the news, I really didn’t want to go down to the hospital. If you know me at all, you know it just takes a measly shot to make me pass out. But for some reason, I thought I should go. I knew they were going to need translators, and I thought I could help a little. I prayed God would make me strong, and that he would save these people’s lives. I heard that accident was terrible.
I’m not sure all the details of the wreck, but within about five minutes, our ambulances began pouring in with more and more Haitians that were bloody, crying, throwing up, and with mangled bodies. Double broken femurs. Feet hanging off by a flap of skin. Head injuries. Open flesh everywhere, with bones popping out.
It felt like the earthquake. Again.
We didn’t have enough doctors (we had two, and no orthopedic docs), or nurses (again, two), and about 20 people that were non-medical like me, running around and trying to get supplies, morphine, etc to those that needed it. There were about 20 Haitians lying on stretchers outside our clinic, with docs running around evaluating who needed to be transferred to other hospitals first. The man with the feet hanging off was first. When he arrived at General Hospital in our ambulance, they refused him. They said they couldn’t handle his case, b/c their Operating Room wasn’t “sterile” enough. This is THE MAIN HOSPITAL in the country. And they don’t have a sterile OR. The man needed both legs amputated to live. He was going to die if they didn’t at least TRY. But they wouldn’t. By the time we could get him to a different, private hospital, 2 hours later, he had died.
All through the night, people from the MOH team and short term team members were transferring all the patients out to other hospitals, whoever that would take them. As far as we know, everyone else made it.
But my heart still aches for the man that had to die. I feel angry. If the same accident happened in America, he would have lived. No hospital would refuse him.
My heart feels burdened for the Haitians, who have absolutely no idea the comfort that we live in in America. Or the medical care. Or the physical therapy. Yesterday, I was thinking of this contrast: In one tent city I go to, (that is fortunate to have ANY physical therapy), about 50 patients wait all day long to be seen by one physical therapist, outside, in about 100 degree weather, with almost NO MATERIALS/TOOLS. Patients don’t know what they are missing. Compare this with any PT center in America. Air conditioned. With ramps. Parallel bars. Every kind of elastic with different tensions you could ever dream of. No sacrifices are made. Patients are given the best.
Don’t Haitians deserve the same? It’s so hard for me. Why is America so privileged, and Haiti is so destitute, forgotten?
Post earthquake, there are 1000s of Haitians that still need SO MUCH help, yet help is slowing down remarkably. Even as far as the prosthetics lab. We can’t find people to come down for much of the fall. I feel really discouraged right now, and need prayer. Haiti needs prayer too. Lots of it.