Deploying Mobile Clinics

Greetings from Carrefour, Port au Prince, Haiti.

With the fixed clinic in Carrefour up and running, we have now been able to turn our attention to the mobile clinics.  We are targeting several areas identified by the Ministry of Health as especially in need of this service.  Sunday morning we loaded up our two-vehicle convoy complete with three MDs, one RN, and multiple expat and national staff, and left our fixed clinic at 8:30 am.  We set up shop at Tabanarre de la Grasse, an Internally Displaced Persons camp on the site of what used to be a school and orphanage.  After a whirlwind of activity, the team had the tents and the clinic up and running by 10:30 am.  By noon we had done our first two acute care transfers.  By 3 p.m., we had seen 114 patients. We estimate 30 percent were in urgent need of our services and would have become sicker without this medical intervention.  We continue to see previously untreated earthquake injuries and many wounds that have now become infected.

We also continue to operate our fixed clinic and gave medical treatment to 148 patients.  The plan for Monday is more of the same, including setting up a new mobile clinic at a large IDP camp near what used to be the Prime Minister’s office.  We will run this clinic directly out of the backs of our trucks.

As you might imagine, our team is tired but extremely happy to have reached this many Haitians.  We have everything we need thanks to the incredible hospitality of Dr. Catherine Wolfe and Cherlie Severe, RN.  They normally live and operate Friends For Health in Haiti near Jeremie, Haiti, and have opened Cherlie’s home here in Carrefour to us for both our living and our fixed clinic space.  The aftershocks continue and most of us sleep outside, but frankly, it’s quite nice to sleep under the Haitian sky.

We continue to believe there is a great deal of urgent unmet need out there, and will be working very hard to find and treat those patients.

We would like to thank everyone for the incredible support and heartfelt wishes.  All of it means a great deal to our team.  Between the support of those back home and the gentle and grateful smiles of the Haitians, our spirits and energy levels remain high.  Thank you all for helping us to do this work.

And a special thank you to the team here on the ground, who do anything and everything when asked and even when not asked, and do it with unfailing energy and good humor: Josh Weil, MD (Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa), Vivian Reyes, MD (Kaiser Permanente San Francisco), Stephen Bretz, MD (John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek, Calif.), Catherine Wolf, MD (Friends For Health In Haiti), Linda Martin, RN (Kaiser Permanente Morse Sacramento), Kelly Belli (Kaiser Permanente Morse Sacramento), Cherlie Severe, RN (Friends For Health In Haiti), Barbie Law (Captain-Paramedic, Sacramento Metro Fire), Don Engle, DDS (Lafayette, Calif.), Serena Clayton (California School Health Centers Association), Mike Speaks (Denali Park, Alaska), Andrew Johnston (Project Coordinator, Relief International), and Tiare Cross (Team Leader, Relief International).  Hernando Garzon MD, who led the initial effort and established the team in Haiti, continues to be very much involved from the United States.

More later, we are heading out for clinics now.

Thanks to all!

Suzy Fitzgerald, MD
Medical Team Leader
Relief International
Kaiser Permanente Diablo Service Area

Update from Suzy Fitzgerald MD, January 26, 2010

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7 responses to “Deploying Mobile Clinics

  1. Patricia Lockyer

    Dr. Fitzgerald: You are a fantastic reporter and writer! I sure hope you are saving these blogs for a book later on down the line! Every time I read one of these blogs, I say a prayer for all of you and the people of Haiti!

  2. dr orna hananel

    suzie, thanks for the up date, wish i was still there! gave a news report to local paper here about what r.i. is doing and sent them tons of pictures! my colleage dr. brian hertz of san rafael kaiser arrives in 2 weeks. i hope to come back end of march for 10 more days, hope u will have tons of work for me! love orna you are the best and so is the entire team! i miss everyone very much, hate waking up here !!! xxoo

  3. Wish I was still there with all of you! I showed photos of the Haiti work to our Middle East team, and they were inspired by your work! Hello from Beirut.

  4. Thank you to all the Kaiser Permanente doctors and clinical staff treating Haitians and saving lives. You make me proud to work at KP!

    I am editor of CA’s Partners in Health newsletter and when you return, we would love for one of you to write a short story for our upcoming issue summarizing the experience and what KP did. This would be of great interest to our members. If you’re interested, please email me.

    Thanks again for all you’re doing!

  5. After you have had time to reflect on what you are seeing, it would be most helpful for us stateside to know where we can most help. Clothes? Money? Other?

  6. Kathy Saenz, MSW

    I am proud to be a KP employee and to know my peers are doing all they can to help those in need. You honor us all!

  7. Eileen Santa Ana

    Incredible!! Thank you for your compassion. I would like to be able to this someday.

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