Today we visited the most dangerous place in Haiti, City Soleil.
We began early in the morning packing our equipment and heading for Cabaret, and Samaritan’s Purse. This organization, run by Franklin Graham the son
of Billy Graham, is the clinic that Sarah Palin recently visited. They
operate a wonderful Cholera Treatment Clinic staffed by Haitian Doctors and
nurses with the help of American Volunteers. They tend to the health
needs of Cholera patients as well as their spiritual needs, praying for them
and offering a kind human touch. Dr Kara Gibson, the medical director was
a wonderful host.
The Haitian doctors and nurses were a quick study - they really learned fast and were eager to use the EZ-IO. They had seen it used once, but ran out of
needles and were resorting to trying manual needles without much success.
You know you have succeeded when the Doctors began training newcomers with
enthusiasm and skill. They said they will use the EZ-IO to save many
lives. I am sure the patients are in good hands.
We had not scheduled a trip to Samaritan Purse’s other clinic in City Soleil, but after a request from Dr. Gibson and the Haitians we knew we had to
re-arrange our schedule to pay them a visit. City Soleil is a slum of more than
450,000 people which can only be described as one of the worst in the
world. Tiny one room tin shacks are crammed into a small area, without
electricity, water, sewer, stores, schools, clinics or roads. Gangs rule it. It
is dangerous beyond belief, with daily murders, robberies, rapes and crime
Police are afraid to enter the city but set up “check points” on the roads leading into the slum. We had to explain to them why we wanted to go there
before they let us pass through. It is filthy and a breeding ground for every
communicable disease, including Cholera that began with a vengeance about 4
In response to the acute need and the reluctance of anyone else to help, Samaritan’s Purse quickly constructed one of the best Cholera Treatment Centers
A self-contained encampment surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards; the
clinic offers hope to those struck by the wicked disease. I gathered the staff
around me in one of the Cholera tents and showed them the science and technique
of using the EZ-IO. They were all enthusiastic and showed good skill at
inserting the EZ-IO into mannequins. Like all the other places we visited,
cultural beliefs prevented any Haitians from agreeing to be a volunteer for a
live insertion. However, Darren, the American that lead the construction
of the buildings, had been watching from behind the doctors and nurses and came
forward, asking to be a volunteer for teaching a live insertion of the
EZ-IO. He talked to his wife in the States during the insertion.
The Haitians were in awe.
Our driver, Val, was terrified as we left City Soleil, for downtown and would not let me raise my camera to take what would have been some of the most
amazing pictures of the trip. He said we would be shot or the car tipped
over and burned. He was naturally cautious because he was shot 4 times a
few years ago transporting reporters. Normally a slow and cautious driver, Val
sped over bumps and weaved around people like he was in a race for life.
We arrived at the contagious hospital near the White House where Dr. Joseph and Dr. Pape awaited our visit. Dr. Pape is well known and respected
for his relentless work against AIDS and TB. Six to 10 percent of the
population has AIDS. They were so grateful for our gift of the EZ-IO and
said it will save many lives at their Cholera Clinic.
It was late in the day when we drove to our last meeting with Nurse Brittany at the only intensive care facility for newborns and adults in PAP. She had been trained in the EZ-IO and needed additional supplies.