Update (Fall 2016)- J. Hale, MD
Friends of Haiti (FoH), Green Bay is in its seventh year of surgery
in Haiti. We partnered with, and do surgery at, Double Harvest in
Croix des Bouquets, a suburb of Port au Prince. Double Harvest is a
Baptist organization from Oberlin, OH.
We met on a flight to Haiti. The surgery teams continue to follow
the medical teams to Haiti by about one month. The idea is to get
some of our patients from the mountains to Double Harvest and take
care of their surgical problems.
To date we have had general, gynecologic, urologic, and
ophthalmologic surgeons join us on our trips. The most common
surgeries are breast lesions, cataracts, hernias, hydroceles, and
hysterectomies. It is not unusual to have an emergency walk through
the door. Sadly, we have had a few deaths over the years. The trips
are one week long. In 5 days we do approximately 60 open procedures
and 60 eye procedures. Our referral process is a long way from
perfection. We have tried several different processes with limited
success. This is a source of frustration. If anybody has a good
idea we would love to hear from you.
As is customary with FoH, the team members are all volunteer and
pay for their flight and per diem ($60.00/person/day). The per diem
is then forwarded to Double Harvest. Team members join us from
coast to coast. Due to space constraint, surgery teams are usually
18 or fewer.
Preparatory work is done before every trip. We are indebted to all
our volunteers in the US and Haiti. Without our members at home we
could never get ready for these trips.
Accommodations at Double Harvest are luxurious. We have AC, beds,
and showers. Sometimes the water in the shower is warm! There is
never a lack of work.
I am always amazed by the people of Haiti. They are beautiful,
faithful, tough, and trusting. I find it unbelievable that they
will meet us for 10 minutes, let us cut them open to remove a
watermelon sized hernia, hydrocele, or uterus, or work on an eye
(!), and as they are leaving for home the next morning, hug us with
a prayer saying we were sent by God to help them. It is truly
One of the reasons I have been going to Haiti for 16 years is to
keep things in perspective. If you would like to join FoH, please
A few reflections from travelers is listed below..
Dr. Jack wrote this in 2012: One of my favorite stories is
that of a woman we saw in Montalais, which is the most remote
mountain town to which FoH travels. It is a 9 mile
mountainous hike from the main road. The lady came to
Montalais because of a large benign tumor hanging from her axilla
(armpit). It weighed 20 to 25 pounds. She had to tuck
it in her dress and strap it to her chest just to be able to walk
and function at home. FoH got her to Double Harvest to be
seen by the surgical team. Our general surgeon excised the
mass. The following morning at 7:30 am the patient was
dressed and ready to travel home. She could not hold her arm
at her side due to the pain of the 6 inch incision, but she had a
smile from ear to ear. Her life was going to be better and
she hugged us all as she walked out the door.
Kristi Rasmussen Sarosiek wrote this in April 2015: I am
sitting outside this evening listening to a prayer service held for
the patients and their families here at Double Harvest
Clinic/Surgery Center. Their voices are heard in beautiful song and
reverent sermon. They are kneeling outside on concrete with
blankets they've brought with them (along with pots of food to feed
their family members as they recover) to await tomorrow. Some
will receive devastating news and others will receive a new lease
on life. I thank God that he brought me here to learn, help,
appreciate what I have, and what I have to offer. Life is
good and I am blessed.
Dr. Amit Tandon wrote in April 2015: Truly amazing
people and team that help so many people. Special thanks to Mathew
Joseph Thompson who invited me on this trip and showed me the
ropes. Matt and I did 61 eyes and the team will do well over 100
surgeries. (The eye procedures included cataracts, corneal
Friends of Haiti is a
501(c)(3) non-profit organization
PO Box 1174 | Green Bay, WI 54305 |