Dr. Brian Donahue (Illinois Bone & Joint Institute, Arlington Heights) returned on May 20th, 2011 from a 2nd volunteer mission in Milot, Haiti at the Hôpital Sacré Coeur (Sacred Heart Hospital). While in Milot, Dr. Donahue worked with a team consisting of a General Surgeon, an Anesthesiologist, an Orthopaedic Operating Room Nurse, a Physical Therapist as well as 2 Haitian Nurse Anesthetists. The team volunteered to help patients at the same hospital he had visited last year after the tragic earthquake on Jan 12, 2010.
With 73 beds, Hôpital Sacré Coeur is the largest private hospital in northern Haiti, located in the small village of Milot. Established over 25 years ago, Hôpital Sacré Coeur is an exemplary partnership between the American aid group CRUDEM Foundation, and the local community it serves. Its mission is to provide the best possible health care for the people of Haiti.
While his weeklong trip, organized by the nonprofit Crudem Foundation (The CRUDEM Foundation, Inc.), came more than 14 months after the earthquake that devastated Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, many patients still needed work related to injuries suffered during the catastrophe. Conditions at the hospital have improved since the days after the earthquake and the Hôpital Sacré Coeur remains the second busiest hospital in Haiti.
The entire team’s efforts were coordinated through Crudem. Dr. Donahue again had a very positive experience holding ortho clinics and performing orthopaedic surgery during the week stay. Unfortunately, orthopaedic care at this time is still limited and receiving follow-up care in Milot is sketchy.
Dr. Donahue stated that “You really gain a lot of perspective from a place like Milot; and you see how devastating it can be not to have basic medical services, how chaotic and how poor medical conditions can really influence patient outcomes.”
Some patients had broken bones that had healed improperly, or had ongoing infections. The team performed a procedure on a patient that had a distal femur fracture with an external fixator placed three months prior that had not been seen in two months. Dr. Donahue was able to remove the external fixation and then plated the distal femur allowing the patient to walk on her leg for the first time in three months.