Friday, January 29, 2010
Paradise Lost or Paradise Won?
Montrouis, Haiti January 28, 2010
I must confess that the sunset over Haiti this evening was perhaps one of the most sumptuous and beautiful natural wonders that I have ever witnessed. One could easily be persuaded that this is paradise. The reality on the ground is starkly different. We continue to perform surgeries and offer continuing care to patients who have infected wounds from living in the tent camps. Even in a crisis, "bread and butter" surgical disease still presents. We have a woman with a suspicious breast lump who will require a biopsy and pathology analysis. We will perform the biopsy and transport it back to Bermuda for analysis. Another gentleman presented with seizures because he has not taken his medicine since the the earthquake. These patients need thoughtful and seem less continuity in their medical care. I observed a woman picking up grains of rice from the dirt around our clinic where our cook had opened a bag of rice. This was a sad and poignant reminder of how truly blessed we are. My sense is that most people go to bed a bit hungry and underfed. We are so used to eating until we are full and/or stuffed each day, often leaving uneaten food on our plates. Life is so different in this paradise that has loss so much to natural disaster, corruption, poverty, and indifference.
Christopher L. Johnson, MD, MSc, FACS