How is your month organized?
Our surgical month is structured to provide maximal surgical care to the community in the safest and most efficient means possible. We hold a half-week clinic and then maintain three operative weeks. General surgery is represented during each week given the demand for hernia and other general surgical conditions, while pediatric surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, and urology are represented for one week each. Post-operative clinic is held throughout those three weeks to follow-up with our patients, and extends for another half-week after the operative weeks conclude. We additionally hold educational lectures for the local house staff during the operative weeks, which in the past has focused on requested topics such as nasogastric tube care and this year will focus on laparoscopy.
When we come home, we start planning for the next year! A trip of this magnitude requires much planning, especially given that we bring all necessary supplies and medications (to operate for a whole month!) that we will use with us in order not to financially burden our host hospital. At the end of the summer, three fourth year medical students who attended the trip the previous year are selected by outgoing student trip leaders and supported by faculty to serve as trip leaders. Responsibilities are typically split up by logistics including lodging and travel and personnel organization, supplies, and medications. Students meet monthly with faculty surgeons and anesthesiologists to discuss progress, with increased frequency as the trip approaches.
The population served by our surgical trip are the residents of the town of Pignon that hosts our team, as well as anyone from the Central Plateau of Haiti that travels to us for surgical evaluation. The geographic area served is the Central Plateau of Haiti.
Patients generally pay those fees required by our hosting local hospital, which cover the costs of a local hospital chart, pre-operative blood work, etc. We provide our surgical services free of charge. We additionally work with some organizations that assist in subsidizing even those fees, such as Childspring International which focuses on providing care to children.
Please donate! A trip of this magnitude requires an entire year's fundraising, and every small bit helps. Please visit our "Donate" page to find directions for financial contributions, as well as supplies and medication donations. No donation is too small. Follow our blog every summer while we are in Haiti and share our message on social media!