In early May, emergency ultrasound fellow Leila PoSaw and two Mount Sinai senior Emergency Medicine residents on the ultrasound track, Swathi Nadindla and Micah Nite, traveled to Haiti for an ultrasound education project.
This project was at the Bernard Mevs/ Project Medishare hospital in Port-au-Prince, which is the only trauma, critical care, and rehabilitation hospital in an entire country of ten million people. This hospital is responsible for providing lifesaving care to Haiti’s sickest adults, children and premature infants. The hospital treats 200 to 300 patients daily in the outpatient clinic and 50 inpatients daily. Two years after the earthquake of Jan 12, 2010, Project Medishare has moved to a capacity-building stage of empowering Haitians to create and sustain their own healthcare system through training, education, and employment of local medical professionals.
The goals of the project were to assess the feasibility of a permanent ultrasound program run by Haitian doctors. In such a program, Haitian doctors would use point of care bedside ultrasound to make life-changing medical decisions for their patients.
Is there a need? Is this possible?
We aimed to perform a needs assessment as an important part of the planning process to clarify and identify appropriate interventions. We also aimed to teach a mini-ultrasound course to any and all who might be interested to learn.
Two years after the earthquake we found the city to still be in a state of disrepair. We developed a flat tire on this extremely bumpy road strewn with debris. This was formerly the busy down town area. Now it looks like a ghost town.
Though there are still tents around the destroyed National Palace (which is due for demolition), many of the tents have been moved away from the center to the outskirts.
There is a single guarded gate that leads into the Bernard Mevs hospital. The clinics are open weekdays and have long wait lines. Not surprisingly, we found that the OB clinic could use an ultrasound machine!
The ultrasound course was a huge success. It was held in the cafeteria/dining hall. A total of 14 medical students and 7 staff doctors attended, including Drs. Marlon and Jerry Bitar in the blue surgical caps, and Dr. Toni Eyssallenne, the medical director.
Special thanks to Dr. Marc Jean-Baptiste, driver and navigator, Dr. Alice Baptiste, Dr. Julie Kanter, Dr. Swathi Nadindla and Dr. Micah Nite, without whom this project would never have happened.
There is no doubt that ultrasound has a lot of potential in resource-limited settings. We used ultrasound to diagnose and confirm several interesting cases, which will be highlighted on this site soon!