Our Mission trip has evolved as well. From just a handful of medical staff, we now send over thirty people each year, 5-6 physicians, 2 dentists, a pharmacy staff and a cadre of nurses and non-medical support staff. In addition to medical care, we now provide support in the form of donated food and clothing. We have the capability to perform minor surgeries, provide excellent tertiary medical care, and can evacuate urgently ill patients to other hospitals in Haiti for more skilled care if the need arises.
In 2002, we attended to a young man who suffered a broken spine while he was collecting water in a ravine for his family. Our unit, working as a team, cared for this man overnight in our clinic with the proficiency and excellence that would rival any ER in this country. The following day he was flown to a charity hospital in Pignon, Haiti where he was able to receive orthopedic surgery to repair his injury. During a return trip in 2003, we saw him again in our clinic. He came back to thank us for our efforts in helping him with his injury. I was moved to tears when I saw him walk into the clinic with his family. My first impression was shock at the realization of how tall he was. This 15 year old’s height never registered with me last year because he came into our clinic on a homemade cot, in excruciating pain, unable to move his legs. From there, he was transferred to a makeshift backboard where he lay all night until we could charter a plane to transfer him the following day. And now there he was, standing in front of me, nearly as tall as me. To see him standing upright…not confined to a bed or a wheelchair…was my moment of realization. My eyes were opened.
For every story like this one, I can tell you many more. In our absence, the Whitney Clinic is continuously open, run by local Haitian physicians from a nearby hospital, equipped with medicines and supplies provided by the support of our two parishes and concerned individuals like yourself. But the only way we can continue to provide this good work is through the help of individuals who also want to make a difference in this world…to ease the pain and suffering of people who are less fortunate. Our mission trip is only a vehicle. Without the interest or donations of concerned individuals, we would certainly not have the resources to continue what we’ve started, and not at the level of care which we currently provide. If you feel like this trip is a worthwhile endeavor and would like to contribute in some fashion, financially, or with time or talent, then I welcome your generosity. Please feel free to contact me or a member of my team if you have any further questions. Again, thank you for your interest in our work in Haiti.
- Dr. Jim Toth