Patient Visits at PCH
I have had the great privilege of being invited to observe some patient visits at Peredo Community Hospital. Not much will top getting to personally cheer on a mama in the final moments of experiencing the Blessing of Hospital Births, of course, but seeing doctors like Dr. Jackie and Dr. Frenel, our nurses, and pharmacists provide the much-needed health care to our friends in Haiti is pretty amazing too.
I think it is hard to understand just what a big deal this is. And it’s importance cannot be stated enough. Though not a perfect system, Americans have incredible access to health care. For example, our US office is located in Kokomo, IN. At a quick glance, our common, middle-America city (population 58,000) has two fully operational hospitals with 24/7 emergency care – one advertising 158 doctors in its network – three urgent care clinics, 69 primary care doctors, and over 20 surgeons and/or surgery groups. This doesn’t count the many nurses, med techs, anesthesiologists, and speciality doctors that take care of the people of our city. Nor does it consider nearby Indianapolis where a vast array of medical providers and services are available.
Consider what’s available in your own city, and then realize that 60% of Haitians still don’t have access to health care. Peredo Community Hospital is the only regularly staffed and functioning hospital in the Southeast Department, where nearly 1 million underserved Haitians live. 1 million people. 1 hospital.
It’s a good thing we serve a big God who is meeting big needs through the big expansion of Peredo Community Hospital! Our hospital staff is taking care of patients with a variety of health needs.
“More than a doctor, I’m a teacher,” says Dr. Frenel. For instance, many “medicines” available at local drugstores aren’t really effective against ailments, so some patients end up at PCH, but they are resistant to the idea of getting prescriptions from the pharmacy. They think the real medicine might not work any better. So, the doctors educate the patients about why our prescribed medicines will actually help relieve symptoms.
Sometimes our doctors treat patients who have been to another health care clinic in Haiti but have yet to find any true healing. One man came in with foot pain and a wound he has had for three years. He walked to Peredo – alone – from Fonds Jean Noel. In lieu of being able to treat with IV antibiotics for 6 weeks or surgery like might happen in the US, a nurse cleaned the wound, and then Dr. Frenel prescribed antibiotics and scheduled a follow-up appointment for 3-5 days. He’s hopeful the man will return for further treatment.
Another patient lives by himself. He is lonely, hard of hearing, and he smokes every day. He comes in complaining of a persistent cough. Dr. Frenel tells the patient if he keeps smoking, he will die. The man said, “I will die anyway, so I smoke.” The man doesn’t want to stop smoking, so there is little long-term relief we can provide.
One patient – a little boy – is carried in by family. He’s had a fever for five days and is having seizures. The doctors consult and test him for meningitis and malaria before prescribing meds that bring relief.
Patient visits like just these happened for 5,000 individuals in 2017, and we are on pace to exceed that number in 2018! Respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and hypertension remain some of the most frequently diagnosed illnesses at Peredo Community Hospital. In 2019, we anticipate being able to expand our medical services through the opening of Phase II and the new surgical center.
Would you pray with us for all of those who are being treated and finding hope through the medical care provided at PCH? And would you pray with us for our hospital staff as they continue providing compassionate care?
by Jennifer Mayhill
HCO Engagement Director