Andrew Dougherty Vision Foundation – Haiti

Posted on Jun 15, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Andrew Dougherty Vision Foundation – Haiti
Here is Dr. Paul Dougherty’s blog from the trip:

Haiti, Saturday, April 28, 2012, Day 1 —
Hello from Haiti – we safely arrived this afternoon and are now at Mevs Charity Hospital in Port-au-Prince. Our arrival was extremely chaotic – men were nearly getting in fistfights over trying to help us with our luggage – we could barely touch our own things! The crowd fighting over us was overwhelming and a bit scary – but we finally found the hospital representative who took us past the heavily armed guards into the hospital compound.

The poverty here is unbelievable. 90% of Haitians are unemployed and the majority do not have access to basic medical care. The hospital itself is clearly a somewhat primitive third-world hospital, but is doing an amazing job at trying to care for this underserved population. Mevs Hospital is the main trauma and ICU hospital in this country of 10 million people.

We will begin performing the first cataract surgeries ever at this hospital on Monday. Tomorrow we will be travelling to a village outside Port-au-Prince to meet 5 of the patients that we will be performing surgery on. My team and I look forward to a great trip. For more details or donate to the cause, please click here.

See the story on ABC news
Haiti, Sunday, April 29, 2012, Day 2 —
Another fascinating day in anarchy paradise. Last night after I went to sleep, my tech Marshall, who is also an EMT, carried a young guy who had been stabbed in the chest off the back of a pickup truck into the ER and helped to try so save him before he bled to death. Now I know why there are heavily armed guards at the front gate of the hospital. This morning we went to visit 4 of the cataract patients that I will be operating on tomorrow. On the way to the homes, we drove on dilapidated, potholed muddy roads past voodoo churches, small mud shack homes, naked children and many farm animals on the street. At one point, we drove through a roadside checkpoint with 15-20 teenagers stopping every car to see if they could extract a “toll.” Kind of scary – our driver expertly talked our way through as we locked the doors to our land cruiser. At least they did not seem to have guns. Given that there are only 10,000 police and no military in a country of 10 million, the rule of law does not really run the land.
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Two of the patients we saw are permanently blind in 1 eye from glaucoma and now blind in the other from cataract. One of these patients used to run a grocery store, but lost her business after the earthquake because people stole all of her goods because she could not see. The last patient we saw lived in a mud home with a tin roof on a farm outside a village called Croix des Bouquets – no electricity, running water or sewage. He was blind in both eyes and had to stop farming in December. He is the head of the family with 7 children and 21 grandchildren (see attached photo). We finished the day by setting up the operating room and clinic. Dr. Skromme and Justin were responsible for trying to kill the 10’s of 1000’s of mosquitos in the rooms before we could set up the clinic. 3 mosquito bombs and lots of hand-killing of these insects later, we could actually start to set up. The Operating Room was a little better – fewer mosquitos and a half-working air-conditioner. We are starting at 7am tomorrow – and very excited!

Haiti, Monday, April 30, 2012, Day 3 —
Today was both the happiest and saddest day in my career in ophthalmology. I told patient after patient that I could not help them see because they had waited too long for care and were now blind – 4 patients in a row at one point – I could barely hold back my tears. On a positive note, we screened probably 60 patients, identified about half as surgical candidates and performed successful cataract surgery on 13 of them. I finally figured out why the eye clinic smelled so bad – it sits right beside an open sewer; unbelievable! We got surgery started almost 3 hours late because some of the machinery was not working. Once we got started, the electricity went out at least a dozen times. By the end of the power outages, the cataract machine that had just been donated by one of the ophthalmology companies was no longer functional because of the power surges. It was quite a day – none of the surgeries was easy because all of the cataracts were so end-stage resulting in blindness. One of the patients I operated on was a 76 year-old pediatrician who had no access to eye care who was blind in both eyes from cataracts – but still stumbled around treating patients. His first eye went great! He can’t wait to see his grandchildren and get back to work and actually see his patients. We have gotten to know some of the other medical volunteers here at Mevs – the stories are unbelievable – babies left by their mothers for dead at the doorstep, family members grieving their deceased loved ones – it is very emotional. Hopefully tomorrow will go a little smoother.

 

Haiti, Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Day 4 —
Another unbelievable day in Haiti full of ups and downs. Warning: This post is not for the faint of heart. The day started by seeing all of the surgeries from yesterday. There was a taxi (tuc tuc) driver who was essentially blind and still working – thank God he had great vision today – and a big smile! The rule in Haiti is – if you don’t work, you don’t eat. There were many other happy patients this morning – this is why I go on these mission trips – to change people’s lives in a positive way.

We were fortunate to have gifted 12 cataract surgeries today to blind Haitians – all difficult, but all very rewarding. I performed surgery on a 60 year old gentleman who was completely blind in his only eye (the other eye had been lost due to trauma). He stumbled into the operating room with the assistance of a tree branch that served as his white cane and his source of sight for the past few years. He had been working cleaning cars and buses – the drivers whose cars he had cleaned for years had been supporting him since he went blind. When he sat up from surgery, he looked around the room seeing faces for the first time in years – he looked at me and said I am a “tall white man in a blue shirt” in Creole. Amazing!!! When the translator told him that I had done surgery, he gave me a huge smile and said “thank you.”

Late this morning, I began looking for a functioning toilet in the hospital – after visiting the 7th restroom, one finally appeared to be functioning. As I went to try to wash my hands, there was no water. Upon going back to the OR and sterilizing my hands with sterilizing alcohol foam, I was informed that there was no water pressure in the hospital – only then I understood why I could not find a functioning restroom. Finally, 5 hours later, word spread that it was ok to use the restrooms again- crazy.

In the early afternoon, I had just finished a case. As I walked out into the pre-op area, I saw my ophthalmic tech Justin walk in – he was a ball of sweat from head to toe and he was as white as a ghost – he also appeared to have a faint green aura about him. He had just been requisitioned to hold the legs of a young Haitian man who had been shot in the head at point-blank range as the medical team worked diligently to try to save his life. Justin described how he eventually was no longer able to feel a pulse as the blood poured out of the young man’s right temple. Immediately after the medical team called the code, Justin came over to the OR to find us for support.

A few minutes later, as I was between surgeries in the next OR watching my Haitian colleague perform surgery, the director of the adult ICU (the only one in Haiti), poked his head into the OR to ask me if I would be interested in coming to harvest the corneas from the same young man who just died in the ER from a point-blank gunshot wound to the head. My main concerns were vialbility of the cornea and HIV status of the donor. Dr. Brian informed me that HIV testing would take only a few minutes, However, unfortunately, I realized that there will be no potential OR time for the 6 year old who I hope to perform corneal transplantation on for a corneal scar until Thursday morning. The decedent’s corneal tissue would not be vialble by then, so harvesting the eyes would be of no value.

Overall, I am very thankful for my station in life and that I am in a position to have a positive impact in such dire circumstances.

 

Haiti, Wednesday, May 2, 2012, Day 5 – Part 1 —
Haiti is chaos manifested. We woke up to barking dogs and loud Haitian music outside our room in the hospital. We got up and saw patients from yesterday. When we arrived at the clinic, we found 5 patients who had had surgery yesterday sleeping on the concrete bench outside the mosquito-infested clinic; one of them sleeping in his own urine. Many of the patients still had the disposable surgical booties that we had given them the previous day on below their shoes – they were using them as new socks. On a positive note, the blind gentleman who used to wash cars for a living before he lost his vision was seeing great! He was now using his tree branch as a walking stick instead of a white cane.

I started doing cataract surgery again around 8:30 – again all very challenging cases because of the lack of medical care in this country. At the end of the case, I went back to the clinic to look for the other 17 patients who were supposed to have surgery today. There were only 6 there. I then spoke to Dr. DeCastro, my Haitian ophthalmologist colleague to find out what had happened. He told me that the bus transporting them had dropped them off at the wrong hospital and left them there. They had no way to get to Mevs for us to operate on them today. We only got to do 7 surgeries today – but we had 7 very happy patients.

Again, I feel lucky to be here since there is so much need.

 

Haiti, Wednesday, 5/2/12, Day 5 – Part 2 —
First of all, thank all of you for your generous donations to support our cause through our website. We have been invited back to Haiti to help this population in dire need – any donation, even as small as $10 will help restore vision to the blind.

I nearly fell asleep last night writing this blog; this trip has been both emotionally and physically exhausting, so here is a little bit more information about yesterday, and a lot more pics of what we are doing.

While waiting to be seen yesterday at the clinic, one of our patients passed out from dehydration, began seizing and feel on his face, opening a large cut on his lip. The ER docs were able to stabilize him, and we were eventually able to examine him – unfortunately, he had lost his vision from end-stage glaucoma, and we were unable to help him. Had he had access to medical care, he would still be sighted. We had to cancel one of our cataract surgeries yesterday because the patient had a blood pressure of 250/150 (for those of you in the medical field, this means that it was so high that she was about to have a stroke). Untreated high blood pressure like this is more the norm than the exception – these patients do not have access to basic medical care.

Last night an 18-month old baby with sickle cell anemia died in the pediatric ICU. I was asked by the staff if I would like to come harvest the eyes for my anticipated corneal transplant on the 6 year old tomorrow. Unfortunately, the youngest corneas that I can transplant are 3 years old – we will have to use the tissue in long-term storage media to do the transplant, assuming the patient shows up tomorrow (he and his father have already been here twice, and we were unable to perform the surgery because of the lack of OR time and staff.

I am absolutely amazed with the strength and acceptance of the Haitian people. They exist in dire circumstances without complaining. I can’t wait to come back to help these amazing people with amazing spirit who in desperate need.

Haiti, Thursday, May 3, 2012, Day 6 —
We woke up to another scorching hot day in chaos paradise. The first order of the day was to attempt to shower from the small pipe sticking out of the wall that dripped cold water if you were lucky. The next order of business was to look for the 6 year old who was supposed to come back for a corneal transplant. He was nowhere to be found. He lived 3 hours away in a small village, and he and his father had already made 2 trips to try to get the surgery to no avail because of lack of OR time and anesthesia. I had one of the staff from Medical Missions International attempt to contact the patient’s father, with no response – I am very disappointed that I can not help this young 6 year-old who reminds me so much of my own son. Hopefully I will be back in Haiti soon to gift him a corneal transplant.

Today in surgery, we had no anesthesiologist – Dr. Abe Matthews, who had been helping us for the past 3 surgery days, was on a plane back to Chicago. Enter Marshall Jacobe, international man of mystery and husband of Alex Jacobe, my director of surgical services who made this trip work. In addition to his fluency in English, Spanish, Arabic and Creole as well as his other roles as DJ extraordinaire (DJ M3), director of optometric sales, IT director, DLV director of security and Emergency Medical Technician, add the list – anesthesiologist. Under the direction of the the anesthesiologist in the next room who was doing a complex pediatric surgery case, Marshall placed and monitored the oxygen, pulse oximeter and blood pressure cuff as well as pushed benzodiazapines and anti-hypertensives. What is next Marshall – a gold medal in the giant slalom?

One of the patients that my Haitian colleague, Dr. Pierre DeCastro, and I treated today was a gentleman with a dense cataract. After putting in the lid speculum, and despite IV versed (a close cousin of valium), the patient freaked out and began screaming that we were going to remove his eye. He continued to scream and thrash his head about – we had to cancel the case. Unfortunately, this was his only chance to regain vision in this eye. Very disappointing for him, but we were able to treat 4 blind cataract patients today prior to our departure.

At midday, we said our goodbyes and it was off to the airport. It was just as crazy leaving as it was coming. We arrived to chaos. Upon exiting our truck, we were accosted by dozens of guys trying to “assist” us with our luggage and help us “cut to the front of the line.” In line for security, people were pushing, screaming and shouting. After 20 minutes in the hot Caribbean sun in line, we finally got inside the terminal, where the craziness continued. Not until we finally got checked in did the complete disorganization dissipate. It was off to Miami and then back to Los Angeles, in anticipation of a hot shower for the first time in a week and 11 surgeries in the morning.

So overall – it was a very successful trip – we made the blind see. All total, we performed cataract surgery on 35 patients – not bad for working out of 1 room in a third world hospital which had never done eyes before. I am very proud of my entire staff that joined me including Dr. Kristopher Skromme – optometrist, Alex Jacobe – director of surgery and lead scrub tech, Marshall Jacobe – international man of mystery, Justin Lovett – ophthalmic technician. I would also like to thank Pierre DeCastro, MD – my colleague from Haiti who helped identify and treat the cataract patients, Wisland – Dr. DeCastro’s scrub tech, Tim DeYoung from Medical Missions International who helped coordinate the trip as well as all of their staff, especially Goudy our translator in clinic , Dr. Mildred Olivier – the Haitian American glaucoma specialist who helped coordinate logistics for the trip and her team from Chicago which consisted of Dr. Abe Matthews – anesthesiology and her scrub tech, Astrid. I would also like to thank everyone at Hospital Bernard Mevs including the Drs. Jerry and Marlon Bitar, the twin trauma surgeons who co-own the hospital with Project Medishare, Michelle – head OR nurse as well as all of her excellent staff, Dr. Tony Eyessallenne- the medical director at Mevs, Kim – the nursing director, and last but not least, Scott Gillenwater, the physical therapist from the spinal trauma unit who gave us the initial tour of the facilities as well a much needed respite from the hospital. A heartfelt thank you also goes out to Neil Newman and Josh Watkins who photo and video-documented the trip for my foundation, worldvisionproject.net.

I would also like to thank all of the donors who made this trip possible including my good friends Freddie Segan and JR Renick of Renick Cadillac in Fullerton, as well as all of the people who so generously donated to the cause on www.worldvisionproject.net. I would also like to thank Lenstec, Inc. from St. Petersburg, FL and Alcon Surgical from Fort Worth, Texas for their generous donation of ophthalmic equipment and supplies.

Our current trip has still not been fully funded and we hope to make many more such trips. If you find it in your heart to donate to help save the sight of needy patients both here in the US and around the world, please make a donation on paypal through our website. Thanks again for your support.

Dr. Paul Dougherty and his team went on a Andrew Dougherty Vision Foundation mission to Haiti from Saturday, April 28 – Thursday, May 3, 2012. Here is Dr. Dougherty’s blog from the trip:

 

 Haiti, Saturday, April 28, 2012, Day 1 —

Hello from Haiti – we safely arrived this afternoon and are now at Mevs Charity Hospital in Port-au-Prince. Our arrival was extremely chaotic – men were nearly getting in fistfights over trying to help us with our luggage – we could barely touch our own things! The crowd fighting over us was overwhelming and a bit scary – but we finally found the hospital representative who took us past the heavily armed guards into the hospital compound.

The poverty here is unbelievable. 90% of Haitians are unemployed and the majority do not have access to basic medical care. The hospital itself is clearly a somewhat primitive third-world hospital, but is doing an amazing job at trying to care for this underserved population. Mevs Hospital is the main trauma and ICU hospital in this country of 10 million people.

We will begin performing the first cataract surgeries ever at this hospital on Monday. Tomorrow we will be travelling to a village outside Port-au-Prince to meet 5 of the patients that we will be performing surgery on. My team and I look forward to a great trip.

 

Haiti, Sunday, April 29, 2012, Day 2 —

Another fascinating day in anarchy paradise.  Last night after I went to sleep, my tech Marshall, who is also an EMT, carried a young guy who had been stabbed in the chest off the back of a pickup truck into the ER and helped to try so save him before he bled to death.  Now I know why there are heavily armed guards at the front gate of the hospital.  This morning we went to visit 4 of the cataract patients that I will be operating on tomorrow.  On the way to the homes, we drove on dilapidated, potholed muddy roads past voodoo churches, small mud shack homes, naked children and many farm animals on the street.  At one point, we drove through a roadside checkpoint with 15-20 teenagers stopping every car to see if they could extract a “toll.”  Kind of scary – our driver expertly talked our way through as we locked the doors to our land cruiser.  At least they did not seem to have guns.  Given that there are only 10,000 police and no military in a country of 10 million, the rule of law does not really run the land.

 

Two of the patients we saw are permanently blind in 1 eye from glaucoma and now blind in the other from cataract.  One of these patients used to run a grocery store, but lost her business after the earthquake because people stole all of her goods because she could not see.  The last patient we saw lived in a mud home with a tin roof on a farm outside a village called Croix des Bouquets – no electricity, running water or sewage.  He was blind in both eyes and had to stop farming in December.  He is the head of the family with 7 children and 21 grandchildren (see attached photo).  We finished the day by setting up the operating room and clinic.  Dr. Skromme and Justin were responsible for trying to kill the 10’s of 1000’s of mosquitos in the rooms before we could set up the clinic.  3 mosquito bombs and lots of hand-killing of these insects later, we could actually start to set up.  The Operating Room was a little better – fewer mosquitos and a half-working air-conditioner.  We are starting at 7am tomorrow – and very excited!

 

Haiti, Monday, April 30, 2012, Day 3 —

Today was both the happiest and saddest day in my career in ophthalmology.  I told patient after patient that I could not help them see because they had waited too long for care and were now blind – 4 patients in a row at one point – I could barely hold back my tears.  On a positive note, we screened probably 60 patients, identified about half as surgical candidates and performed successful cataract surgery on 13 of them.  I finally figured out why the eye clinic smelled so bad – it sits right beside an open sewer; unbelievable!  We got surgery started almost 3 hours late because some of the machinery was not working.  Once we got started, the electricity went out at least a dozen times.  By the end of the power outages, the cataract machine that had just been donated by one of the ophthalmology companies was no longer functional because of the power surges.  It was quite a day – none of the surgeries was easy because all of the cataracts were so end-stage resulting in blindness.  One of the patients I operated on was a 76 year-old pediatrician who had no access to eye care who was blind in both eyes from cataracts – but still stumbled around treating patients.  His first eye went great!  He can’t wait to see his grandchildren and get back to work and actually see his patients.  We have gotten to know some of the other medical volunteers here at Mevs – the stories are unbelievable – babies left by their mothers for dead at the doorstep, family members grieving their deceased loved ones – it is very emotional.  Hopefully tomorrow will go a little smoother.


Haiti, Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Day 4 —

Another unbelievable day in Haiti full of ups and downs.  Warning:  This post is not for the faint of heart.  The day started by seeing all of the surgeries from yesterday.  There was a taxi (tuc tuc) driver who was essentially blind and still working – thank God he had great vision today – and a big smile!  The rule in Haiti is – if you don’t work, you don’t eat.  There were many other happy patients this morning – this is why I go on these mission trips – to change people’s lives in a positive way.

We were fortunate to have gifted 12 cataract surgeries today to blind Haitians – all difficult, but all very rewarding. I performed surgery on a 60 year old gentleman who was completely blind in his only eye (the other eye had been lost due to trauma).  He stumbled into the operating room with the assistance of a tree branch that served as his white cane and his source of sight for the past few years.  He had been working cleaning cars and buses – the drivers whose cars he had cleaned for years had been supporting him since he went blind.  When he sat up from surgery, he looked around the room seeing faces for the first time in years – he looked at me and said I am a “tall white man in a blue shirt” in Creole.  Amazing!!!  When the translator told him that I had done surgery, he gave me a huge smile and said “thank you.”

Late this morning, I began looking for a functioning toilet in the hospital – after visiting the 7th restroom, one finally appeared to be functioning.  As I went to try to wash my hands, there was no water.  Upon going back to the OR and sterilizing my hands with sterilizing alcohol foam, I was informed that there was no water pressure in the hospital – only then I understood why I could not find a functioning restroom.  Finally, 5 hours later, word spread that it was ok to use the restrooms again- crazy.

 

In the early afternoon, I had just finished a case.  As I walked out into the pre-op area, I saw my ophthalmic tech Justin walk in – he was a ball of sweat from head to toe and he was as white as a ghost – he also appeared to have a faint green aura about him.  He had just been requisitioned to hold the legs of a young Haitian man who had been shot in the head at point-blank range as the medical team worked diligently to try to save his life.  Justin described how he eventually was no longer able to feel a pulse as the blood poured out of the young man’s right temple. Immediately after the medical team called the code, Justin came over to the OR to find us for support.

A few minutes later, as I was between surgeries in the next OR watching my Haitian colleague perform surgery, the director of the adult ICU (the only one in Haiti), poked his head into the OR to ask me if I would be interested in coming to harvest the corneas from the same young man who just died in the ER from a point-blank gunshot wound to the head.  My main concerns were vialbility of the cornea and HIV status of the donor.  Dr. Brian informed me that HIV testing would take only a few minutes,  However, unfortunately, I realized that there will be no potential OR time for the 6 year old who I hope to perform corneal transplantation on for a corneal scar until Thursday morning.  The decedent’s corneal tissue would not be vialble by then, so harvesting the eyes would be of no value.

Overall, I am very thankful for my station in life and that I am in a position to have a positive impact in such dire circumstances.

Haiti, Wednesday, May 2, 2012, Day 5 – Part 1 —

Haiti is chaos manifested.  We woke up to barking dogs and loud Haitian music outside our room in the hospital.  We got up and saw patients from yesterday.  When we arrived at the clinic, we found 5 patients who had had surgery yesterday sleeping on the concrete bench outside the mosquito-infested clinic; one of them sleeping in his own urine.  Many of the patients still had the disposable surgical booties that we had given them the previous day on below their shoes – they were using them as new socks.  On a positive note, the blind gentleman who used to wash cars for a living  before he lost his vision was seeing great!  He was now using his tree branch as a walking stick instead of a white cane.

I started doing cataract surgery again around 8:30 – again all very challenging cases because of the lack of medical care in this country.  At the end of the case, I went back to the clinic to look for the other 17 patients who were supposed to have surgery today.  There were only 6 there.  I then spoke to Dr. DeCastro, my Haitian ophthalmologist colleague to find out what had happened.  He told me that the bus transporting them had dropped them off at the wrong hospital and left them there.  They had no way to get to Mevs for us to operate on them today. We only got to do 7 surgeries today – but we had 7 very happy patients.

Again, I feel lucky to be here since there is so much need.

 

Haiti, Wednesday, 5/2/12, Day 5 – Part 2 —

First of all, thank all of you for your generous donations to support our cause through our paypal account.  We have been invited back to Haiti to help this population in dire need – any donation, even as small as $10 will help restore vision to the blind.

I nearly fell asleep last night writing this blog; this trip has been both emotionally and physically exhausting, so here is a little bit more information about yesterday, and a lot more pics of what we are doing.

While waiting to be seen yesterday at the clinic, one of our patients passed out from dehydration, began seizing and feel on his face, opening a large cut on his lip.  The ER docs were able to stabilize him, and we were eventually able to examine him – unfortunately, he had lost his vision from end-stage glaucoma, and we were unable to help him.  Had he had access to medical care, he would still be sighted.  We had to cancel one of our cataract surgeries yesterday because the patient had a blood pressure of 250/150 (for those of you in the medical field, this means that it was so high that she was about to have a stroke).  Untreated high blood pressure like this is more the norm than the exception – these patients do not have access to basic medical care.

Last night an 18-month old baby with sickle cell anemia died in the pediatric ICU.  I was asked by the staff if I would like to come harvest the eyes for my anticipated corneal transplant on the 6 year old tomorrow.  Unfortunately, the youngest corneas that I can transplant are 3 years old – we will have to use the tissue in long-term storage media to do the transplant, assuming the patient shows up tomorrow (he and his father have already been here twice, and we were unable to perform the surgery because of the lack of OR time and staff.

I am absolutely amazed with the strength and acceptance of the Haitian people.  They exist in dire circumstances without complaining.  I can’t wait to come back to help these amazing people with amazing spirit who in desperate need.

 

Haiti, Thursday, May 3, 2012, Day 6 —

We woke up to another scorching hot day in chaos paradise.  The first order of the day was to attempt to shower from the small pipe sticking out of the wall that dripped cold water if you were lucky. The next order of business was to look for the 6 year old who was supposed to come back for a corneal transplant. He was nowhere to be found. He lived 3 hours away in a small village, and he and his father had already made 2 trips to try to get the surgery to no avail because of lack of OR time and anesthesia.  I had one of the staff from Medical Missions International attempt to contact the patient’s father, with no response – I am very disappointed that I can not help this young 6 year-old who reminds me so much of my own son.  Hopefully I will be back in Haiti soon to gift him a corneal transplant.

Today in surgery, we had no anesthesiologist – Dr. Abe Matthews, who had been helping us for the past 3 surgery days, was on a plane back to Chicago.  Enter Marshall Jacobe, international man of mystery and husband of Alex Jacobe, my director of surgical services who made this trip work.  In addition to his fluency in English, Spanish, Arabic and Creole as well as his other roles as DJ extraordinaire (DJ M3), director of optometric sales, IT director, DLV director of security and Emergency Medical Technician, add the list – anesthesiologist.  Under the direction of the the anesthesiologist in the next room who was doing a complex pediatric surgery case, Marshall placed and monitored the oxygen, pulse oximeter and blood pressure cuff as well as pushed benzodiazapines and anti-hypertensives.  What is next Marshall – a gold medal in the giant slalom?

One of the patients that my Haitian colleague, Dr. Pierre DeCastro, and I treated today was a gentleman with a dense cataract.  After putting in the lid speculum, and despite IV versed (a close cousin of valium), the patient freaked out and began screaming that we were going to remove his eye.  He continued to scream and thrash his head about – we had to cancel the case.  Unfortunately, this was his only chance to regain vision in this eye.  Very disappointing for him, but we were able to treat 4 blind cataract patients today prior to our departure.

At midday, we said our goodbyes and it was off to the airport.  It was just as crazy leaving as it was coming.  We arrived to chaos.  Upon exiting our truck, we were accosted by dozens of guys trying to “assist” us with our luggage and help us “cut to the front of the line.”  In line for security, people were pushing, screaming and shouting.  After 20 minutes in the hot Caribbean sun in line, we finally got inside the terminal, where the craziness continued.  Not until we finally got checked in did the complete disorganization dissipate.  It was off to Miami and then back to Los Angeles, in anticipation of a hot shower for the first time in a week and 11 surgeries in the morning.

So overall – it was a very successful trip – we made the blind see.  All total, we performed cataract surgery on 35 patients – not bad for working out of 1 room in a third world hospital which had never done eyes before.  I am very proud of my entire staff that joined me including Dr. Kristopher Skromme – optometrist, Alex Jacobe – director of surgery and lead scrub tech, Marshall Jacobe – international man of mystery, Justin Lovett – ophthalmic technician.  I would also like to thank Pierre DeCastro, MD –  my colleague from Haiti who helped identify and treat the cataract patients, Wisland – Dr. DeCastro’s scrub tech, Tim DeYoung from Medical Missions International who helped coordinate the trip as well as all of their staff, especially Goudy our translator in clinic , Dr. Mildred Olivier – the Haitian American glaucoma specialist who helped coordinate logistics for the trip and her team from Chicago which consisted of Dr. Abe Matthews – anesthesiology and her scrub tech, Astrid.  I would also like to thank everyone at Hospital Bernard Mevs including the Drs. Jerry and Marlon Bitar, the twin trauma surgeons who co-own the hospital with Project Medishare, Michelle – head OR nurse as well as all of her excellent staff, Dr. Tony Eyessallenne- the medical director at Mevs, Kim – the nursing director, and last but not least, Scott Gillenwater, the physical therapist from the spinal trauma unit who gave us the initial tour of the facilities as well a much needed respite from the hospital.  A heartfelt thank you also goes out to Neil Newman and Josh Watkins who photo and video-documented the trip for my foundation, Andrew Dougherty Vision Foundation.

I would also like to thank all of the donors who made this trip possible including my good friends Freddie Segan and JR Renick of Renick Cadillac in Fullerton, as well as all of the people who so generously donated to the cause here.  I would also like to thank Lenstec, Inc. from St. Petersburg, FL and Alcon Surgical from Fort Worth, Texas for their generous donation of ophthalmic equipment and supplies.

Our current trip has still not been fully funded and we hope to make many more such trips.  If you find it in your heart to donate to help save the sight of needy patients both here in the US and around the world, please click here to make a donation.  Thanks again for your support.

View Haiti Mission photos and video.

Paul J. Dougherty, MD

My Vision is Global Vision
Andrew Dougherty Vision Foundation

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