First Surgeries Performed at PCH Surgical Center
“All in!” That is how RoRo described the very first surgical team to perform cases in the Peredo Community Hospital Surgical Center. A team of 3 surgeons, 5 clinicians, and 3 non-clinical individuals had the honor of performing the first 7 cases in this beautiful new facility! As they walked through the new space, some of them new to missions and most new to Haiti, they could not believe the magnificent facility was their home for the next week! The “oohs” and “ahs” rang out as they explored and talked about the possibilities of the upcoming week!
After church on Sunday, the team immediately went to work preparing. With access to the abundance of supply provided by generous donations, they stocked shelves, sorted and cleaned instruments, assembled equipment, and gathered necessities. Even after the sun went down, the team refused to stop until the work was complete. They were determined to ensure the best possible outcomes for the community of Peredo: their future patients.
Amid all the bustle of Sunday’s preparation, a new mother was in labor in the hospital. Just after dusk, we heard baby and mom were in distress. With the baby breach and the cord wrapped around her neck, an emergency c-section was needed! The team jumped into action to set up the operating room and prepared for the first case, but the baby was coming too fast! Luckily, the doctors on site at Peredo Community Hospital were able to assist and the baby was born without injury to herself or mom! Once mom and her new baby were settled, Dr. Frank, Medical Director of Peredo Community Hospital, reflected with the team on what had just happened. He reminded us that in the past, mothers who would need a c-section, especially emergency c-sections, would have to be driven 45 minutes down the road to the nearest capable facility. This baby and mom may not have made it given the complications. In his excitement, he rejoiced that thanks to the surgical hospital, this was no longer the case!
Throughout the week, the team assessed patients to determine whether or not they were appropriate surgical candidates. We started out slow with an oral surgery for Pierre, a 51-year-old gentleman from the Peredo community. Next was a subaceous cyst removal from the right cheek of 31-year-old man who came to PCH from almost three hours away! Jonas, had traveled from Belle Anse after he had heard there were surgical services in Peredo! After removing the marble-sized cyst, Jonas returned home and spread the word! The next day, he brought three more patients from Belle Anse!
As word spread, the team performed podiatry cases, excisions of large lypomas including an egg-sized lypoma near an elbow, painful hardware removals, and the removal of an external fixation device placed in the broken femur of a 61-year-old man. There were patients who had knee pain for years, who were only able to shuffle into the clinic, but after fluid aspiration, they were able to dance out of the clinic! One woman was so grateful to be walking pain free that she came back into the exam room, interrupted the current consultation, and proceeded to kiss each doctor and nurse on our team while exclaiming, “God Bless You!” The Grand Opening of this surgical hospital even drew the attention of one Haitian Orthopedic Surgeon who brought patients to see us!
This team was definitely “All In!” After seeing the need for this surgical hospital and the benefits it can bring, many of them committed to another trip in July 2019 prior to the end of the week!
by Megan E. Schreiber, B.S.S.
Director of Health Care Partnerships
Haitian Christian Outreach