Update from James Dudley, MD:
Hello from Titanyen, Haiti! It was a beautiful day here, warm but breezy. It feels tropical and the pace of life seems like what one would expect in the islands. As many know, the length day in the tropics doesn’t vary much with the seasons, and so sun-up is a few minutes after 6 in the morning, and sunset 12 hours later. Haiti is very mountainous and our compound is situated on the southwestern slopes of a mountain range, so the sunrise is delayed just a few minutes more. Most people in the area where we are seem to rise and set with the sun.
Last night was breezy and quite comfortable and it was easy to get going this morning. After rounds on the 6 orthopedic patients in the hospital, we walked up the hill to the clinic. It was about 8:30 and there were at least two hundred people in the queue, some with minor issues, some more serious. We met Dr. Jennifer and later Dr. Alix, our Haitian hosts who staff the clinic on a regular basis and to whom we could run anytime when we had questions about local practices and more importantly, the spectrum of disease we were facing. We worked as fast as we could to take care of all the patients, sort out the really sick from the not so sick, the acutely ill from the chronically ill, or malnourished. The range of needs, medical and social and spiritual was significant; challenging and exciting. In some ways, I felt like a medical student on the first day in the wards. Almost without warning, the mad rush was over. I went to find Dr. Jennifer, my new-found mentor, but she had gone. Early in the morning, she and I had talked about Wigans, the young man we had worked on feverishly just we hours earlier. Dr. Jennifer had been his primary doctor for the last two years and she had made huge efforts to care for him, even traveling to Cuba to arrange medical care for him, and staying with him at Christmas last year, acting as physician and mother for him during another hospitalization. His death overnight hit her especially hard, as it did many of those who work in the clinic. They all knew Wigans and knew the struggles that had been made for him. This evening, as grace was said before dinner, a prayer was made to bring healing to those suffering in the wake of his passing. It helped ease the pain, as did the wonderful music after dinner. There are two groups of college students here, about two dozen in all, and they provided a beautiful chorus for the pastor who played the guitar and sang with clear rich tenor. A good night’s rest will bring a renewal of energy for the work tomorrow.
All are well here and send their love and greetings to family and friends back home.