I dedicate this blog entry to a 10 month old little girl, whose name I never knew, who gave her life for not only her people but for me as well.

Posted: April 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

Let me start of by saying that it has taken me 6 hours to calm down from the events that transpired this morning.  I have been awake for almost 36 hours, I’m dehydrated and hungry.  I’m grateful to be eating soon since so many people here have no food.  My life has been changed and I have been humbled.  I have such sadness in my heart for the loss of a life today that I find myself lost in thought and daydreaming to escape the reality of my what has happened.  I want to thank everyone who reads this blog and those that have already sent me words of encouragement.  I have a very strong support structure here of people that truly care about me and will watch over me through this time.  For everyone at home please don’t be worried as I will be fine.  not the “Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional” fine I always make fun of, but I will be a stronger and even more dedicated person than I have before.  I must achieve my goal to stay here and help.  There are 5 of us doing what so many can not.  Our small group is whole heartedly dedicated to throwing everything we have at making this a better place.

Last night I thought it would be fun to go and work the night shift with a Leanne.  She is a wonderful person with a  huge heart and a very similar sense of humor as mine.  I was hoping to practice starting IV’s but no patients needed them and it’s just no right to turn them into guinea pigs.  Sure we practice on each other, make fun and all, which is fine, but the last thing a sick person needs is my jamming a needle in their arm trying to find a vein.  So I walked in around 10:30 and I first see 2 cop cars and then about 25 cops.  Obviously one of the local cops is in the ED and then I saw him.  He was on a motorcycle in the rain storm and got hit by a car.  He had an open femur fracture and needed to be transported.  I called the UM, got the green light, loaded him up and went.  When we arrived at the UM, they took him straight into surgery and fixed his leg with external fixators.  I checked on him later and everything went well.

1 down and 4 more to go.

I get back to the general and find that we have another machete incident.  A woman, whose age is undetermined, has been brought into the ED.  She was found on the street, is not mentally stable and has a machete wound to the left side of her head.  We call around for a Neuro team with no luck and decide to call UM for a Plastics team.  They give us the green light to bring her over for an I&D and to stabilize her for the Nuero team.  We get her loaded up and go.  I took Anne Liang, a nurse with PIH with me which paid off because she had to give her Versed.  When we got to UM they assessed her and took her into surgery.  Later that day I found out the machete did not go through her skull and all she needed was sutures.  When I went in to follow up on her I did see that she and her family were talking to a Psychiatrist and she was getting a psych consult.  Hopefully she will get back on her meds.

From the UM, Anne and I transferred a man back to his home in a tent city and then headed to the hospital.  This is when everything went to hell.

At 1am father had brought in his 10 month old daughter because she was ill.  The little girl had an extremely high fever and was severely dehydrated.  The doctors and nurses were doing everything possible to get her to perk up and get better.  Their treatment was aggressive and it seemed to be working but around 8am the baby started to crump really fast.  We had to intubate her and bag her and when the ventilators would not work, because they are old pieces of crap, we had to do an immediate transfer to UM.  We had problems with the suction on one of the rigs and it took about 10 minutes to fix.  I grabbed one of the docs, the infant and we headed over their asap.  Unfortunately the people on the road were not as concerned as we were and traffic seemed to not care that we were blazing lights, sirens, horns and even Creole over the loudspeaker to clear a path.  What normally would take 12-15 minutes took almost 25.  The roads are so horrible here.  My driver hit a huge pothole because he had to dodge a truck that decided to pass us and cut us off.  When he hit the pothole it jarred us so bad that the Intubation tube came out of her lungs.  We had to stop the rig.  I had to jump in the back to assist the doc, the translator had to run the lights and sirens.  We had to use a face mask, which is extremely hard to seal on a baby’s face.  Her O2 sats were dropping and she was becoming bradycardic.  Pretty much this little girl is dying on us and we have to get to UM but nobody will pull to the right and clear a way for us.  When we finally arrive to the hospital we take her lifeless little body in and she is pronounced DOA.  All we needed was 10 minutes.  10 minutes to save this little girl’s life.  10 minutes that no one on the road was willing to give us.  She was so adorably cute and chubby as all get and she will be missed.

I excused myself from the PICU and went behind the truck to collect myself.  I’ve been here for pretty much 2 months.  I’ve seen horrible things but nothing has ever hit me like this.  If you know me at all I believe that being open about everything is the best therapy.  it doesn’t help that I haven’t slept for almost 2 days and I’ve had a few energy drinks.  Please don’t worry about me.  I openly say what I feel to show you that I have accepted that these things happen in life and even though I am an A-typical control freak, there are certain elements that I can not control.

Though she was only 10 months old this little girl has taught me several valuable lessons about myself and the situation down here.  There are definite things that have to be changed immediately.  Things that I will not tolerate anymore.  Things that people not want to hear from me but I am now mad and when I am mad I do not tolerate excuses.  Things will change.  This defunct system will reap the whirlwind of of my sadness and rage for the loss of this little girls life.  She will be remembered!!!

During a solemn ride home the General called that a 22 day old baby had to go to the UM.  She was not eating and her electrolytes were way off.  She was stable, momma held her, the ride was smooth and she is receiving incredible treatment.

After everything that has happened today I am a stronger, more compassionate and rededicated person.

As I stated in this blog entry title, I dedicate this blog entry to a 10 month old little girl, whose name I never knew, who gave her life for not only her people but for me as well.

Paul Sebring

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Comments
  1. mma Afoaku says:

    This is such a tragic event which words cannot even begin to explain. You are doing so many wonderful things over there, it is unreal. I truly thank you for your kind heart and caring personality.

  2. Emily Rivera says:

    Paul, I read your blog all the time without commenting but i just wanted you to know you have support here in Texas…. Our prayers are with you. Stay strong.. Get some sleep. Get some food and hydration. You cant help the people if you dont help yourself first. (ok.. enough of my mothering! 🙂 ) In the meantime I pray that you guys continue to be safe and effective in the work that you are doing there. I’m impressed with the amount of strength and tenacity that you guys have shown in dealing with such harsh conditions and emotionally taxing circumstances. one week of it was enough for me!! Hang in there! Emily

    • Thank you Emily and your mothering is always appreciated. I know I have always brought this up on my blog but we have to stay out here and without funding we can not continue to do our work here. Please help us by reaching out to your community, friends, local churches, anyone that can read my blog and see how critical the work we are doing here is.

      I don’t have a translator with me but as soon as I do I will be following up with Isias about getting her the proper care needed before she goes into labor.

  3. Pam says:

    Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. You are not only changing peoples lives in Haiti, Paul. You are changing the lives of those who read your blog as well. My thoughts and prayers are always with you, your team and the people you serve.

  4. alicia says:

    Paul, I just don’t have enough words to thank the Lord for have given me a son like you. Stay strong, keep up the faith and remember that this beautiful little girl must have been a very special child and she is now embraced by Heavenly Father. I will keep on forwarding your letters to see if you can get the funds you need. I wish I was rich! But in a sense I am very rich, you are in my life and you have touched all of our hearts.
    mom

  5. Danielle says:

    Paul, Just remember who you are and remember most of all not only do lots of people here love and care about you, but more than anything Your Heavenly Father Love you and is so proud of you. Keep up the great work! Make sure you eat and get some rest. Take care of yourself. You are in my prayers. What you are doing is sooo impressive. Remember, the lord and he will bless you.

  6. Mango Dave says:

    Paul, Listen to your mother !

  7. Gwen says:

    My dear Paul, I am just re-grouping from my time in Haiti and beginning to look at the web postings of others. That night was one of the most emotionally difficult of my life. All of my days in Haiti had their challenges, but that night was beyond what my heart and soul could manage. Our team started the night with a code of an adult woman who didn’t make it, then moved to many cases besides the ones you described. The machete wound was gruesome. The large, on edge of violent entourage accompanying two separate gun shot wound patients was a bit intimidating requiring us to just stay on task and insist that security deal with moving people back out of the patient care area. And in the midst of all that, taking turns as the team worked intensely for hours trying to stabilize the little girl, making headway and then needing to move her to the trauma bed to try to resuscitate her, giving her everything we had when we were already emotionally and physically spent was just too much to bear. YOU were the bright spot of the night. You kept showing up when we needed you most. When we had no time to make transport arrangements, you just took care of business. You gave us hope that something more could be done.

    You are loved and have the respect and gratitude of those of us on the ground needing all that you are doing!!!

  8. Herbie says:

    Big Paul! Back in the states and missing all of you there in Haiti. Reading your blog I feel as if I am there again. Keep up the good work-you guys are fantastic!

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