Our first day in Haiti started out rather uneventfully. Jamie, Danielle, and I got a tour of St. Luke’s Hospital from Junior – one of the techs who works there. Junior showed us around starting with the triage tent. Patients line up outside the gate (which is to the left of the green door in this picture), and then are brought into Triage. Here they have their vitals taken and their reason for presenting to the hospital or “chief complaint” is recorded. From here they either proceed to the Emergency Room or to the clinics depending on the severity of their illness.
The clinics are housed in the 5 buildings on the far left of this picture (which is just to the right of the ICU building – the one labeled Urgence et Critique).
Next Junior showed us the “main” hospital. First he took us to the wound care area which is right next to the Emergency Department. Next to the ER is Radiology. St Luke has full XRay services in addition to a CAT scan that can perform Head CT for adults and can serve as a full body scanner for the smaller children at St Damien’s. Just past radiology is the pharmacy and “central supply” area of the hospital (although there is a much larger supply area known as Francisville that is about a block away from the hospital).
Following the pharmacy begin the actual hospital wards. Ward 1 has the sickest and most acute patients, usually just from the ER. I forget exactly how many of these wards there were but I believe there were around 10 or so, housing 6 beds each and with their own individual bathroom and shower in the back. In addition to these wards, St Luke’s also has two cholera wards, one for adults and one for pediatrics.
After passing through the main hospital buildings, Junior took us to Urgence et Critique – the building that houses the ICU as well as the two operating rooms. The ICU wasn’t much different from the Emergency Department although there was obviously differences like more cardiac monitors as well as a ventilator. Junior then took us to the operating room, which I have to admit was impressive. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a fully functional ventilator as well as some very good operating room lights (some of them better than ones I’ve seen in the United States). It truly looked like a fully functional operating room just waiting to be used. The second operating room was not quite as nice but mainly due to not being fully set up yet.
After our tour, we met with Dr Augustine, who is the medical director of St Luke’s. Our meeting was to figure out how best to achieve the goals that he envisioned for St Luke’s with our help – both the training and educational component that Danielle’s team would be providing as well as the surgical support that will hopefully come from teams that I will be putting together. There would obviously be kinks in the system to work out, but the foundation has been set.
Overall, the tour we received that morning as well as Dr Augustine’s drive and enthusiasm gave me a lot of hope for the tremendous potential that exists at St Luke’s. I wasn’t expecting a fully functional operating room based on what Jamie had told me previously. I began to think that we really could do some good here.