A Six-Year-Old Earthquake Survivor Receives Urgent Orthopedic Surgery

Without the orthopedic surgery six-year-old Widley Gilles received at SBH after the August 14th earthquake, he would have likely lost his leg. Today, he’s resting comfortably and is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.

Widley Gilles lives on the Cayemites, a pair of islands located near the end of Haiti’s southern peninsula. He was playing outside when the earthquake struck—the ground violently shook and knocked over a nearby wall, pinning his left leg to the ground. Widley’s family rushed to remove him from the rubble and could tell his leg was badly injured. He needed urgent care, and they feared nobody would be there to help them. 

Shortly after the disaster, a foreign rescue team came to the island to provide medical care for survivors. Widley’s mother, Syliva, says, “When they saw Widley, they told us they would not be able to care for him because his injuries were too serious. They put us on a boat, and then into an ambulance headed for St. Boniface Hospital.”

Clinicians surround a young boy in a hospital bed. The boy lies in a metal hospital bed covered by a blue blanket. Two clinicians stand behind him wearing blue scrubs. They adjust his blanket and his IVs. On the left, the patient's mother wears a yellow shit and a white medical mask. She looks at her son as the nurses provide him with care.

Widley’s mother looks on as our nurses tend to Widley before his surgery.

Once at SBH, our surgical team took an X-ray and saw that Widley needed urgent surgery to repair his femur bone and ensure it heals in the correct position. Thanks to the additional support of orthopedic surgeons visiting from the Haitian Ministry of Health and Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante, our world-class surgical team was able to easily make the repair on their young patient. 

Sylvia felt relieved when she finally saw her son resting comfortably in the post-op ward. After a terrifying day, she knew her son was going to be okay. At SBH, he’ll continue to receive follow-up care and physical therapy to ensure the break heals completely and he can walk properly. “I’m so glad Widley didn’t lose his leg,” says Sylvia. “I’m so thankful to St. Boniface Hospital for its help.”