When Jobendy got sick — vomiting, diarrhea and fever — his mom brought him to their local hospital. Benjardy, a community health nurse at a clinic in Miragoâne, knew that her five-year-old son’s GI illness could be serious. After going to two different hospitals without getting a solid diagnosis, Benjardy started to worry she would have to take her son all the way to Port au Prince to find a hospital that could treat him. But first, she decided to bring Jobendy over the difficult road to Fond-des-Blancs, to St. Boniface Hospital’s new surgeon, whom she had heard good things about.
Benjardy was still worried, though, because as a nurse she knew that in order to accurately diagnose issues like her son’s, doctors have to rely on imaging equipment that most hospitals in Haiti do not have. She remembers thinking, “If there isn’t ultrasound equipment here, we will have to go to Port au Prince, and I could possibly lose my son.”
But, much to Benjardy’s surprise, SBHF recently received a state-of-the-art ultrasound machine donated by the GE Foundation. And Dr. Valery, SBHF’s first-ever Emergency Room Resident, had training to perform and read ultrasound scans. Dr. Valery has joined the SBHF team on rotation from his residency at Partners in Health’s University Hospital in Mirebalais. The combination of good equipment, highly-trained staff, and a team ready and able to perform emergency surgery, was the key to Jobendy’s speedy recovery.
Within hours of having his abdomen scanned, Jobendy was in the operating room getting his appendix removed. Two days later, with his recovery going very well, Jobendy and his mom were on their way home.
This piece of equipment that we take for granted in US hospitals is revolutionizing the way that St. Boniface’s medical team diagnoses many illnesses. And SBHF’s highly trained, professional staff is improving the standard of care for patients across our region, and all over Haiti.
St. Boniface’s capacity to do this kind of imaging and surgical care means that Jobendy was home and on his way to full healing within a few days. That is in stark contrast to Dina, another patient who recently had surgery for appendicitis. Dina had been sick for much longer than Jobendy before she made it to St. Boniface Hospital. She had severe complications from her appendicitis, which have resulted in her needing not one but three operations. Though Dina is now receiving excellent surgical care from Dr. Ward and his team, and great follow-up care from the rest of the SBHF staff, the fact that she did not have access to this kind of care from the beginning has made her illness last for months, rather than days.
Jobendy and Benjardy are all smiles again, after SBHF’s Emergency Room and Surgical teams quickly diagnosed and treated Jobendy’s appendicitis.