Health care in Haiti is scarce and usually reserved for those who can afford it. Also, many Haitians live in remote areas with poor roads which make access to health care nearly impossible. When Haitians hear that our medical team will be arriving, many travel for days in order to see us. We often have several hundred patients sitting in the hot sun without food and water, patiently waiting to be seen. Surgeries are scheduled in advance to take advantage of our limited time in the country. On the most recent trip to Cayes Jacmel, we performed many surgeries over the course of four days including hernias, large thyroid goiters, random masses within the head and neck area, an amputation, and a cleft lip repair. Unfortunately, due to the extensive damage from recent hurricanes, many patients were unable to reach us due to flooded roads and bridges. They realize that they will have to wait until we return next year.
Humanitarian medical work remains one of the highlights of my medical career. The experience is invaluable and I am grateful for the lessons I learn from the children and families that live in third-world countries. I have been on several humanitarian medical trips over the years and I always look forward to each opportunity.