No title can fit how I feel right now – MMRC update 08/24/2010

Posted: August 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Hello Everyone,

So it’s been a week since my last update and so I forced myself to take a couple of hours off this morning to sit down uninterrupted and let you all know what is going on.  I’m going to do this update in bullet point format so I may be jumping all over the place.  Try and keep up 🙂

Head Trauma Guy:  A few days ago we had to transfer a patient from one hospital to another.  I’m not going to say which hospital we took the patient from because administration would be very upset that we didn’t follow their protocol.  The story is this.  A 47 year old male was in a car accident and had some head trauma.  His family took him to hospital A, but they were very unhappy with his treatment and they were very concerned.  We got an anonymous call about this patient so we loaded up at the house and headed over.  Knowing that we had to stabilize the patient we used one of our nifty new backboards that we got from Mission of Hope.  These things are great.  They are used for water rescue and can float but it turns out they make for a great air cushioned ride in the back of an old beat up truck (ghetto sled).  So back to the story.  We went to the hospital and met with the family and they already had their dad in the car with them.  We told them to follow us and we all left the hospital together.  About 2 blocks down the road we pulled over and got the dad out, put on a C-Collar and got him secured to the board.  Granted, he was walking on his own, but we didn’t know the extent of his injuries and we try to maintain certain standards.  We covered him with an emergency blanket since it looked really stormy and didn’t want him getting cold and wet if it started to rain…. which it did.  So we got to hospital B, dropped him off for treatment and the last I heard he was discharged without any complications. 

Haitian Red Cross Plays Nice:  I know it’s hard to believe that I would say something nice about the HRC especially after a few entries ago when I completely bashed them for their complacency.  But the truth is I don’t just report on the bad things that happen here.  I also talk about the good things that people do.  For example, 2 nights ago I had to go to the HRC to get blood for a very sick woman at Medishare.  Keep in mind that after our last experience I was expecting a long drawn out fight that would just ruin my night.  I asked LP to call our contact in the HRC and tell her what was going on.  He did and it turns out that even though she wasn’t working she went ahead and tried to reach the tech that was on that night.  During this time, I drove over to the HRC and when I got to the door, it was locked and the lights were off.  I guess it was after 10pm and everyone was asleep inside.  As I was knocking on the glass door with my key I saw an older man stagger up to the door, half asleep and unlock it for me.  He got the night tech for me and had her come to the lobby.  I tried in the most pathetic Creole I could muster to explain why I was there but we just weren’t communicating.  Right at that time, LP called and told me that our tech couldn’t reach the night tech and wished me good luck.  That gave me the idea to call and have both techs talk to each other.  After a few minutes of giggling and “Wi, Wi, Wi” the night tech gave me the phone back and a thumbs up.  I watched her go into the lab, turn the lights on, start prepping everything to test the blood sample that was en route and get her paperwork in order. 

 Heart be still…. Is this really happening. 

About 35 minutes later Sam from Medishare pulled up with the blood sample, gave it to the tech and she got to work right away.  No fighting, bickering excuses….. Nothing!!!!!  In the end, we got the 2 units of blood we needed and had zero problems getting it.  The techs did a great job, they worked quickly and efficiently and did it with a good attitude.

Car Accidents and Riots:  We ended up needing another vehicle for a few days so we rented this little white Terios from a private party.  LP was loving it since it had air conditioning and shocks.  Everything was going fine with the car until last Thursday afternoon when LP, Cory, Christina and Ralph were coming back from Wilner’s orphanage in the mountains.  They had just gotten into PV and were stopped at a red light on top of hill.  The light turned green,  LP accelerated, pressed the brakes to avoid a pothole and that’s when he discovered that the brakes had gone out.  It’s not like they had a little give to them… They were completely gone.  Remember now, they were at the top of a pretty steep hill.  LP was serving to miss people and decided to put the car into the side of a truck, tap tap, and cement poles in order to turn on a side road and get the car to stop.  Thankfully now one was injured, the car was pretty banged up, and the crowd and police were giving LP “atta boys” when they found out that it was the brakes and not reckless driving.

Now I wasn’t there when this happened, but I did get a call from Ralph, Christina and Cory telling me about it and asking me to come down with the truck.  I headed on down and when I got there I was a little surprised to see an injured bystander since Ralph told me no one was hurt.  It turns out that a guy jumped out of the way of the car and hit his leg on the ground pretty hard and so we put him in the back of the truck and took him to Medishare for exam. 

This is when it got interesting.  As we were driving to Medishare, Delmas 67-33 was shut down due to the protestors that were forming.  We ended up taking some side roads and getting back on Delmas 24ish.  We were cruising along just fine until we had to really slow down at Delmas 18 since there was a huge crowd of protestors on the streets.  I gently drove through them trying not to do anything to set them off since I had a patient in the back.  We got through rather smoothly and got to Medishare.  Once there we got the guy into the ED for exam.  I was working with the doc when all of a sudden people ran into the ED shouting, “Lock the doors, lock the gates, they’re trying to get in.”  Not knowing what was going on I ran out of the ED into the courtyard to see a small mayhem of chaos mainly from panicked patients and some frightened volunteers.  The guards were shouting to lock the gate until Dave came back with the truck.  Turns out that Dave from Medishare took the cargo truck out for supplies and was rushed by protestors.  He threw it in reverse, and got back to Medishare most ricky-tik.  The guards flung open the gates, Dave came barreling in, gates got slammed and everyone was now in.  I looked at Chrisitna and Cory and told them to go into the logistics office while I helped out here.  I saw Bill who is part of the security team there and told him that the guard on the back entry was alone and unarmed.  He sent 4 guards over to support him.  Meanwhile, I ran up the stairs to the roof to overlook the street and see what was going on.  Thankfully the crowd had dispersed and everything had calmed down.  We ended up hanging out for a bit until LP could join us in with the other vehicle.  We put the girls in the wrecked rental that was still running, brakes and all now for some reason, I took the guys in the truck and we rolled out.  We got home safely and everything seemed to have settled down in the city.

Vitamins:  We did get a crap load of daily vitamins on our last MOH run so if any NGO’s are reading this right now please email me and I will get you some.  PJ, yours are one the way…..

Political Turmoil:  Things here are starting to heat up and will soon be pretty dicey.  The people were not happy about Wycleff Jean being taking off of the ballot and we are seeing that the protests are surrounding the upcoming elections.  In addition to that the people are also fed up with the living conditions.  The tents they were given right after the earthquake are falling apart and now that the hurricanes and rains are on the way they are scarred of flooding.  Though they are not as vocal about their living conditions as they are about their politics they seem to be intertwined. 

Other stuff:  Aside from everything else we have been doing we are also gearing up for the upcoming storms.  If all goes well Hurricane Danielle will miss us.  That’s funny because a close friend of mine who reads this blog is also named Danielle and I’ve been trying to avoid her for 18 years without any luck.  Hopefully the hurricane will be less destructive and overbearing than my Danielle is.  Just kidding girl, I just couldn’t help myself.   In all seriousness we are preparing to help with the search and rescue efforts that will arise.

Funding:  As all of you know we are dependent upon private donations to keep us going and it now looks like that we have exhausted all avenues.  We have some very special people doing fund raisers for us to help us stay but unless a miracle happens than we will be gone in less than 3 weeks.  

We are trying to get me out of Haiti first so I can go to NY and try to get some grants/funds to relieve our immediate problems.    Hopefully this will happen sooner than later.  LP will follow shortly and together we will be working diligently to re-open our operation in Haiti.  It has been a long, hard fight over the last 7 months but we have succeeded thanks to everyone that donated to our cause.  We have distributed over 40 containers worth of supplies, helped transfer well over 200 patients, helped save the lives of so many of these beautiful Haitian people and have found someone to train to take over our operations.  The EMS classes are a huge hit and the students we have are bright and eager to learn. 

LP and I have exhausted every measure and mean possible to stay here but we must have faith that others will help carry this load for us. 

In the words of an incredible person I met here, we are “guys with warrior energy, guys who can’t hide their soft side even if they try, guys who get shit done and have fun doing it, guys who don’t play by the rules and have no boundaries when it comes to accomplishing their objectives as long as no one gets hurt.” 

With that being said, it is my hope and prayer that this miracle comes through for MMRC.  I am not a proud person so I will just say what so many have about us.  “MMRC is the glue that holds everyone together.  Without you guys here this place will fall apart.  Without your hard work and energy nothing can be accomplished.”


Here are some random photos of us in warehouses, field supply tents, moving Pedialyte, building and testing soccer goals for kids, and transferring patients.

  1. It’s impossible to describe how hard it is to work and get things accomplished in Haiti. I have firsthand experience and however difficult it sounds from reading Paul’s blog, believe me, it can’t really describe the challenge it is. I can say this with complete sincerity – I don’t think anyone else could be doing what they’re doing. Please donate to keep them in business. Every day they are there, lives are made better and lives are saved. I love you guys and thanks for taking such good care of me, xox Cory (aka – Diva)

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