Jessica Cadet gave birth to her first child in the middle of the night, at home in Carrefour near Port au Prince. The 19-year-old new mom knew her baby was premature and needed medical care, so she started a long journey to get to a hospital that could treat him. Here is her story, in her own words.
My baby was so small and came early, and I knew there was something wrong. I gave birth at home, so when I saw how small and sick he looked, I quickly took the baby to a health center close to my home to ask for help. But that clinic does not have any kind of services for premature babies, so they told me to go elsewhere.
So I went to another hospital in the area looking for care, but I was told that I would need to pay a lot of money for my baby to get care there. It is a private hospital, and they asked about 40.000 gourdes (approximately $625 USD) as the deposit upfront and 2000 gourdes ($31 USD) per day that he would be in an incubator. That is excluding taxes. It would be a huge amount of money for me, and I could not pay it.
Since I did not have money to pay for care, I was sent to Bernard Mevs hospital (a nonprofit trauma and emergency hospital in Port au Prince that offers services to all). When I arrived, they looked at my baby and said it was important to get him into an incubator as soon as possible. But their NICU was completely full. Because they didn't have any available incubators, they, unfortunately, said they could not take care of my baby properly.
Fortunately, there was a woman named Joelle Deny there, who knew about the high quality of health care provided by St. Boniface Hospital in Fond des Blancs, and that they have a NICU here. She called Dr. Pierre (Director General of SBHF in Haiti) and explained to him that we were in need of an NICU incubator bed and that it was an emergency. Dr. Pierre said, "bring them quickly to us, the baby will be welcome." As St. Boniface Hospital is about three hours from Port-au-Prince, the woman graciously arranged to have me and my baby transported to Fond des Blancs in a helicopter so that we could get here quickly and get my baby the treatment he needs.
When I arrived, I saw that the staff here really cares about what they are doing. I saw all of the mothers and babies here. And I understand that the services provided by St. Boniface Hospital are totally free for those who cannot pay. I am so grateful for the good samaritan who arranged for us to come here, and I have to say thank you to St. Boniface Hospital for saving my baby's life.