Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Saying Goodbye is Hard to Do

We ended our trip with a nice dinner and many fresh and poignant memories.  Despite more airport issues (our flight was delayed in Port-au-Prince followed by delays in Miami’s Customs) the trip ran smoothly. 

We walked away with 100 physician attendees receiving intensive didactic and hands-on training for their pediatric patients.  We provided direct case content for contemporary cases being experienced in Haiti.  We provided access (via Sonosite) to ultrasound services on pediatric patients and assisted the physicians with the proper use and detection of anatomic features and disease specific findings.  We visited, met and/or toured five major hospitals in the Port-au-Prince and surrounding area including Hospital Bernard Mevs, St. Damien’s Hospital, the General Hospital (HUEH), the University Hospital in Mirebalias.   We heard from executives, doctors, patients, and others about the ongoing challenges in medicine, radiology and life in Haiti.  We successfully collaborated with SRU, SPR, WFPI, SDMS, ICC/Grace and Sonosite.  Most importantly, we were able to contemplate improved, long-term and sustainable radiological care for Haiti’s health care system.  We remain committed to this longer term cause which was reinforced by our visit. 

Mostly, today it was simply hard to say goodbye. It was hard to say goodbye to the Haitian physicians and dedicated health workers, to the people of Haiti we met along the way, to the staff at ICC/Grace and those who transported us to our many destinations, and maybe, most importantly, to the bonds we made with each other collectively working in the service of others. 
When I first went to Haiti, Chuck Phelps, M.D. tugged me on the shirt as we were making our way on to the airplane and said simply, “You better watch out, once you get into Haiti, Haiti will get into you.”  Haiti remains in me and in the hearts of those of us fortunate enough to have witnessed a country ravaged by challenge but optimistic about its future.  It has once again been a privilege to be part of this ongoing effort.

Team gets ready to head back home--from left to right: Chuck Phelps, M.D.,  Paul H. Ellenbogen, M.D., Ernst Garcon, M.D., Jeannine Hatt, M.D., Jennifer Nicholas, Eva Rubio, M.D., Douglas "Rusty" Brown, M.D., Michelle Wilson, Ed.D(c), RDMS, Bibb Allen, Jr., M.D., Marthe Munden, M.D., Jim Borgstede, M.D., Rebecca Stein-Wexler, M.D., Howard Fleishon, M.D., Ron Cohen, M.D., Brad Short and Lauren Alfero (ACR staff)

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