The day after Hurricane Matthew hit a team from St. Boniface Hospital met Julienne Cadet over three miles away from the hospital, walking up the road to Fond des Blancs already in active labor. Thankfully, they were able to help her cross the flooded Dugue stream and into their truck to ride the rest of the way to the hospital.
Julienne's story was featured on CNN.com and The New York Times in the days after the storm. Her difficulty in getting to a hospital that could provide the care she needed during the birth of her sons is just one example of the unseen dangers posed by natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew.
"I was in so much pain," Julienne recalled about her journey by motorcycle and foot over the heavily damaged roads. "I was afraid I would lose the babies or pass away."
Thankfully the team from SBHF found her. They were one of several teams out exploring the condition of the roads leading to Fond des Blancs that day, in an effort to jumpstart the road repairs that would allow patients and ambulances to reach the hospital. Many patients, like Julienne, were unable to get to the hospital by car or motorcycle in the days immediately after the storm because the roads had been too badly damaged and were unpassable at times even by foot.
Julienne had an emergency C-section at St. Boniface Hospital (one of four that our surgical team did during the 24 hours around the hurricane), and happily gave birth to healthy twin boys, who she named Jonas and Jean-Atan. The boys had their first set of vaccinations at the hospital, and once everyone was healthy and the roads passable again, the little family went home to Fond-des-Negres, an hour by moto from Fond-des-Blancs.
Last week they came back to the hospital, and we were able to catch up with Julienne and see the boys—now over six months old!
Life has not always been easy for Julienne since the Hurricane. Her home was damaged in the storm, so she and the boys have been living with her father while she saves up money to make repairs. In addition, caring for two rambunctious and hungry babies is an exhausting task. "Jean-Atan is very outgoing and active," Julienne says, smiling fondly at the smaller of her twins. "But Jonas is bigger and likes to watch everything. Jonas also has a lot more hair!"
Julienne and her sister brought the twins for a check-up and vaccinations, and she also made an appointment at the eye clinic, run by the Global Eye Project but housed at St. Boniface Hospital. She explained that something had scratched her eye earlier in the week, and it had been irritated, so she was glad to hear about the free eye clinic at the hospital. It's not often that people living in rural Haiti are able to have two different medical needs taken care of in one day at one facility.
We were thrilled to catch up with Julienne, Jonas, and Jean-Atan, and hope to see them back again at the hospital for the boys' next check-up!