Today it has been a tough one. This morning we went to the clinic by boat because we had some boxes with medical supplies to take with us. They are part of the relief supplies that had arrived at Port Morgan Hotel from Martinique. The rest went to Seur Flora's clinic.
As soon as we start visiting patients, a distressed family arrives with an 8-month baby boy having severe convulsions. The baby has a temperature of 104 F and has great difficulty breathing. He is totally stiff. Chaos follows. Xavier starts applying oxygen and inserts a gastrointestinal tube to pump empty his stomach in order to stop the baby breathing his vomit. At the same time he uses a syringe to pour paracetamol into his mouth. We do not have intravenous Valium to inject him. We fill a palanquin with water and submerge the baby in it trying to keep his temperature low. We know we have to transport it to the hospital in Les Cayes if he is to survive.
I call Port Morgan hotel and ask them to send us a boat to transport the baby to the main land. I also ask them to send some money with the boat and to arrange some land transport at Les Cayes to drive them to the hospital. In Haiti there is no State subsided health care, if you cannot pay it, you do not get the treatment.
After 45' or so, a small boat from the hotel arrives and Xavier goes with the baby, his mom, his grandma and Surzie. It is a very small boat and it is going to take them a while to reach the main land. I remain at the clinic with Zet, the nursing assistant, and we help the rest of the patients as well as we can.
I wait for hours to know what happened. It takes well into the afternoon to get the news. After they had left from the clinic, Port Morgan Hotel sent a faster boat to chase the first one they had sent. So, the four people and the baby had to change boats in the middle of the see. Once they arrived at Les Cayes the transportation waiting for them was a motorcycle! Xavier jumped on the back of it with the baby and they sped to the hospital. By the time they arrived the convulsions had diminished and the baby was seen straight away by a hospital pediatrician. Xavier paid for the admission and assured the hospital that we would cover their bill. We still don't know the final diagnosis, though it seems the baby had severe bronchitis. It seems that he has good chances of recovering.In the afternoon we have an accounting meeting with the school administrator and the director. We are not totally satisfied with the way the school is being run and we start thinking how to make improvements.