Saturday, April 2, 2011

On My Way Home

After four days in Haiti, we are now on our way home.  There are many lessons we learned about radiology in the Port-au-Prince area of Haiti.  We learned about its current limitations but also reflected and began discussing some exciting plans for the future.  We learned that change will not come easily.  Haiti has many immediate needs today and will continue to have them well into the future.  We forged new friendships, made important contacts, discussed hurdles and hardships and became fascinated by the people and the place. 

Haiti is indeed a land of contrasts.  Its mountains and seas, flora and fauna reflect the beauty of a tropical parardise waiting to be seen.  Its shaken earth, crumbled buildings and years of poverty, have scarred the surface with mounds of rubble, debris and stench that are reflective of a country in the developing world whose condition has been exacerbated by a devastating earthquake.  Despite its challenges, it is the warmth, perserverence and dignity of its people that I will remember. 

When we departed Miami International Airport to fly to Port-au-Prince, long-time radiologist volunteer Chuck Phelps, M.D. pulled me aside and said, "watch out Brad, once you're in Haiti, Haiti will be in you."  On my way home now I can honestly say that I am bringing a part of Haiti with me.  I hope my next visit will be longer and that I can learn more about this remarkable place and its people.

Pictured above:  As we make our way to the airport from left to right are Dr. Chuck Phelps, Dr. John Yates (person overseeing GCH's rebuilding), Dr. Paul H. Ellenbogen (ACR Vice Chair, Board of Chancellors), Dr. Jeannine Hatt Phelps (Pediatrician and Board Member of ICC) and Dr. James Borgstede, M.D. (Chair, ACR Foundation International Outreach Committee). 

For more information on radiology in Haiti, the Haiti Radiology Relief Fund and ACR Foundation activities there, please visit the ACR International Service Web site at or contact Brad Short at or 800-227-5463 ext. 4975.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day Three: Full Day in Haiti

We started today with a trip to the Hôpital Universitaire de la Paix.  The hospital is allied with the HUEG (or General Hospital) in Port-au-Prince.  We surveyed the radiology facilities and met with the hospital director and some of the staff. 

We then travelled to the main University Hospital (HUEG or the General Hospital) and met with the director of medicine Dr. Alix Lassegue.  He noted that they plan on reinstating their radiology residency program.  He also noted the need for education materials including text books and DVDs.  They are also in need for radiology equipment repair personnel. 

After meeting with Dr. Lassegue we headed for the radiology department to meet with members of the Haiti Radiology Society including Dr. Claudine Cleophat, who heads the Radiology Department.  We had a long discussion on some of the needs of radiologists and radiologic technologists in Haiti.  In addition to equipment needs, there has been a significant emigration of Haitian medical trained-radiologists to other western countries.  With roughly 19 radiologists in the country, no current radiology residency and training and advanced equipment found elsewhere, many potential radiologists have left the country.  The radiologists specifically noted a need for a "teach the teachers" program.  The General Hospital suffered some severe damage to some of its campus and will be going through a rebuilding effort.  We discussed some of the potential needs for the University Radiology Department.  We also discussed ways that the ACR Foundation can assist with teaching and training materials in the short-run and, working with the ASRT, provide possible educational materials for their radiologic technologists. 

The saddest part of the day took us to the wing of the hospital that housed the nursing school.  During the earthquake roughly 90 nursing school students and some teachers were killed.  Most of them were in their second year of a three-year program.  The facility is now in tents supplied by UNICEF.  We met the head of the nursing program who survived the earthquake and the remaining 20 students left from the class which suffered the signficant fatalities. 

We ventured out on to the town in the late afternoon.  The ride to the hospitals and the tour of the city reminded us all of how much work is left to be done in Haiti.