You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2018.

We were thrilled and blessed by a visit in March from Milwaukee dentist Dr. Dana Bott.  He was accompanied by long-time supporters Ray and Donna Moon who flawlessly worked out all the logistics of their travel and activities.  Ray is the Logistics Coordinator for FHH and he and Donna come down to visit and work with us every year.  We asked them to work out all the arrangements for travel, equipment and supplies with Dr. Bott and to work with him during the week as he did dental extractions.  They all did a wonderful job and we were grateful for this new service to our patients.  In addition, they brought with them a portable dental unit with an air compressor and suction, so in the future Dr. Bott and other dentists will be able to do some dental fillings as well as pull teeth!  Thanks to all the wonderful donors who contributed to the purchase of this valuable piece of equipment.


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Dr. Bott gets ready to anesthetize a patient as Donna assists


Pulling a tooth

Dr. Bott gives a final pull while extracting a tooth


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Portable dental unit that the team brought down and left with us.


We set up the two dental chairs (which had been donated to us by Dr. Maria Tammi) in our empty xray room, spreading out the dental supplies on a table.  The room had more space than our clinic exam rooms and worked well as Dr. Bott was able to go back and forth between patients.


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Dental supplies spread out on tables in the xray room.


Dental group

Dr. Bott, Donna, and interpreter James Gordon stand beside a happy patient.


Ray did behind-the-scenes work in sterilizing all the dental instruments in pressure cookers on the stove in the residence.  He went up and down the stairs several times each day, preparing instruments for the next patient.  We’re grateful to Ray and Donna for their wonderful assistance and we thank Dr. Bott for his willingness to come render dental services to our patients.

While the dental team was working hard, Cherlie and I and the other clinic nurses were dealing with a dilemma.  A couple came in to the clinic one afternoon with their infant daughter, having walked since the day before from their home up in the high mountains.  They said that the child had fallen off a bed onto the floor and cut her tongue two days prior to their arrival.  When I examined the infant, she did, indeed, have a deep laceration through the front of her tongue and it extended through more than half of the tongue!  This was a dilemma because with the length of time that had passed since the injury, the chances of healing were greatly reduced and the chance of infection was high.  In addition, we had doubts as to the truth of their story because there were no signs of other injuries to the infant that would suggest that she had actually fallen off a bed.

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Couple holding their infant daughter with a serious tongue laceration


The parents were insistent about the cause of the injury and we could tell that they did not want to go down to the government hospital in Jérémie to have a surgeon repair their daughter’s tongue.  They wanted to take their chances with us.  So, I mustered all my ER skills, said a few prayers, advised the parents that the laceration repair might not work and sewed up the little baby’s tongue.


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Tongue with sutures in place.

The baby nursed right after the procedure and seemed to be quite happy, so we sent them home with instructions to return back in a week.  When they came back, the tongue was fully healed and there was no evidence of infection.


Repaired tongue

Tongue with sutures removed


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Infant girl after the sutures in her tongue were removed

Needless to say, there was a lot of rejoicing in the clinic that day and many prayers of thanks to the Lord for his healing mercies!

Kingston Presbyterian Church (KPC) in Kingston, NJ has been a faithful supporter of FHH from its inception.  That’s because it’s my home church – the church where I grew up and still am a member.  So, the congregation is always close to my heart and they have made it their mission to support Cherlie and me and our ministry in Haiti.  As such, nearly every year since we first began work down here, they have sent a work team down to help us out.  This year we had a group of 7 with us for a week in March.  The group consisted of Pastor Sharyl Dixon, Scott Hodge, David Raduzycki and his daughter Emily, Janet Rubinstein, Robin DeGutis and Juanita Ashby.  All of them had been with us on previous visits, so it definitely was like “old home week”.  We had a great time together and they accomplished a lot for us.

In order to help us expand our spiritual ministry, we have been partnering US churches with some of the local churches in the area around our clinic.  Last year, we partnered KPC with a Baptist church in Duranton, which  is about a 45 minute drive from the clinic.  The group from KPC spent a whole day at the church, leading the adults in crafts and Bible study in the morning (yes, we’ve discovered that adults really love doing crafts!) and VBS with the children in the afternoon.  The church people were wonderful hosts and prepared both breakfast and lunch for the group, sharing it with great enthusiasm and warmth.

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Pastor Sharyl Dixon shares a Bible lesson with the adults in Duranton


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Adults who have never been to school take great delight in coloring with crayons as part of craft activities!


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Duranton school children gather for VBS in their school uniforms.  It was a popular activity as evidenced by the attendance.

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Children work diligently on their crafts during VBS



A highlight of the afternoon was playing with a colorful parachute that the KPC group brought with them.


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David Raduzycki made a new friend.


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Pastor Noel and two elders from Duranton join with six of the KPC group for a day of fellowship and fun.


During the week, the group also helped us out at the clinic.  Scott and David built us two new shelving units to use in our Procedure Room to store surgical instruments and supplies.  Others in the group helped varnish some cabinets and painted walls of the residence.  Everyone spent some time in the clinic helping Cherlie and me and our staff as we consulted with our patients.  They also sorted through several drums of used clothing and made up sacks with a variety of clothing to be sent up high in the mountains to communities in need of assistance.  They also spent a morning going out to a nearby community to see some of the latrines that were repaired after the hurricane.  These latrines were built as part of our Water and Sanitation program.

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Janet registered patients under the watchful eye of Adrien, our registration clerk.



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Scott drills holes in the facing for the shelving unit he and David built.


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Emily helped sort through photos on my computer to be used for a collage in our waiting area.


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Juanita and Pastor Sharyl sort through clothing to send to communities high in the mountains


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Emily, Janet and Robin take a hike up the mountain behind the clinic.


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David inspects a latrine that is being repaired on a visit to a nearby community


On Friday of the week the KPC group was with us, Cherlie and I accompanied them to Duranton for a time of health education with the church members followed by a worship service.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship and the church welcomed us with open arms.  Many of the members are patients of ours at the clinic and they were thrilled to have us in their community with them.

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The KPC group sang several songs in Creole for the Duranton church members.  They did a great job!


Presenting gift

Pastor Sharyl presented a small gift to Pastor Noel on behalf of the KPC congregation.  It will be used to help them rebuild their church after the hurricane.


It was a wonderful week and we were sad to see them go.  I felt like I was back home in NJ again and the time was sweet.  Blessings on you Kingston Presbyterian Church!




We hosted another wonderful Avera medical team from South Dakota at the end of February, and I think they were glad to escape the cold and snow of winter.  January, February and March are ideal months to visit here in Haiti, since it’s pleasantly warm without the humid heat of the summer.  This year was no exception.

The Avera team was a productive group and included nine people:  Dr. Gil English, OB/gyn physician and his wife Kathy, who coordinates all the Avera teams, Dr. Jay Allison, a Core Faculty member in the Sioux Falls Family Medicine Residency Program, Dr. Kathleen Haight, a resident physician in Dr. Jay’s program, nurses Shari Platek, Barb Pratt, Alma Kooistra and Gerri Malsom and Gerri’s husband Jerome who is an all-around mechanic and handyman.

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The Avera team:(Top left) Gerri Malsom, Dr. Gil English, Jerome Malsom, Dr. Kathleen Haight, Barb Pratt.  (Bottom left) Shari Platek, Dr. Jay Allison, Kathy English, Alma Kooistra.

One highlight of the week was that Dr. English brought with him a LEEP machine, so that he will be able to intervene and potentially cure patients who have abnormal Pap smears.  Avera teams have been doing Pap smears for our patients for several years, but we’ve had to refer patients with abnormal results to local gynecologists in Jérémie.  Unfortunately, many of them never follow up as we advise, due to lack of financial resources.  Now, thanks to Dr. English, he is able to provide colposcopy and definitive treatment with the LEEP machine for those patients who have abnormal findings suggesting that they may be developing cancer of the cervix.

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Dr. English consults with a patient in our clinic, using our little portable ultrasound machine to show her what’s in her abdomen.

Dr. English also helps see some general medical patients and is quite adept at treating adults with hypertension and acid reflux.  As shown by the photo below, he and his wife seem to be preparing to do some dental hygiene teaching as well:

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Kathy and Dr. Gil English practice using our stuffed crocodile to demonstrate good tooth brushing technique.

We are pleased to be working with Dr. Jay Allison, a Core Faculty member in the Sioux Falls Family Medicine Residency Program, in developing a global health rotation in Haiti for family medicine residents.  Dr. Jay visited us on this trip in order to experience our clinic and community development programs first hand.  He was accompanied by Dr. Kathleen Haight, who is a second year resident in the program.  They both helped consult our clinic patients and Dr. Jay also helped me learn to use our new video gastroscope, which was donated to us by Avera.   He also showed Cherlie the proper cleaning procedure for the scope.


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Dr. Jay examining one of our clinic patients



Dr. Jay shows Dr. Wolf how to use the new video gastroscope, with Cherlie and Kathy looking on.


The suction machine that attaches to the gastroscope was graciously donated to us by a Hoven Hospital in Hoven, South Dakota.  Gerri and Jerome Malsom acquired the suction machine on our behalf.

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Gerri and Jerome Malsom point out the wonderful donated suction machine that attaches to the gastroscope


Shari, Barb, Gerri and Jerome have been down here to work with us before and we were thrilled to see them again.  They settled into our work routine without a hitch and helped out tremendously with the large patient load.  I got a little break with three other physicians present!  What a joy to have them with us.

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Dr. Kathleen and Barb take a break at the end of a busy clinic day



Shari assisted Dr. Haight in her examination room, including giving out these “peri kits” to young female patients.


Weed wacker

Jerome helped Lubin, our yard worker, learn to use a new weed-wacker to trim the weeds around the clinic.  It certainly works better than a machete!


Alma is also a nurse and this was her first visit with us in Gatineau.  She spent most of the week with Cherlie, weighing patients and taking their vital signs.  Of course, she also helped give out gifts to the children.


Alma stands in Cherlie’s nursing room in front of a table full of children’s clothing  and gifts.  It appears that she enjoyed the gift giving as much as the nursing!


We tried a new community activity with this enthusiastic Avera team – sending some of them up high in the mountains to a community where we have volunteer Community Promoters.  They walked for an hour up a steep mountain to get to a church where they met with local people and did some medical teaching with them.  The team then checked everyone’s blood pressure and gave them a referral card to come to the clinic when they found blood pressures that were elevated.  This service was very much appreciated and the following week we saw over 25 patients who had been referred to us from the community visit.  Thank you, Avera, for your enthusiastic participation.


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The church was full of people who came to participate in a community meeting with our staff and the Avera team


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Dr. Jay checks a blood pressure


Consulting on BPs

The team members consult together as they work.  In the foreground is Anisah, a fourth year medical student from MCW.