Photo Credit: Sam Davis
Samuel L. Davis, founder and president of the Burn Advocates Network (BAN), returned from BAN's third mission to Haiti this week with new insight on many of the hidden problems inherent in what can loosely be referred to as Haiti's "health care system."
During his stay in Cap Haitien and Port-au-Prince, Sam met with Dr. Alex Larsen and Dr. Ariel Henry, Haiti's Minister of Health and Chief of Cabinet, respectively. They confirmed that there are currently twenty to thirty amputees in Cap Haitien who need prosthetic devices, with no one there who knows when they can receive it. "They've been needing the prosthetics since January, when the earthquake first devastated the country," says Sam, "We need to do something about the lack of a systemized medical care network, because there are facilities out there—including one in Milot, which is only half an hour away from Cap Haitien—that can very easily produce and fit the patients for the much-needed devices."
Photo Credit: Sam Davis
Sam Davis will continue to work with volunteers, medical staff, and cabinet members to fix the underlying issue. He tells us, "There are medical facilities that could be seeing up to 150 patients per week out there, but are only seeing thirty-five because they have no way of locating or contacting the patients who need the help and care." BAN brought some suggestions about creating charts for patients, which were well-received and have been implemented. The charting now helps doctors and nurses to track the progress of every patient, and allows them to contact the patients who may need surgeries or physical therapy as the resources become available.
Also during their stay, the Burn Advocates Network's volunteers—which include Thomas Bojko, M.D., MS., J.D., Joel Kopelman, M.D., F.A.C.S, and Josef Tuazon, DPT—spent the week in surgery and physical therapy sessions with patients and also with the local medical staff, for the purpose of training the area's medical personnel. "Together, we can improve the current quality of medical care and work on building a larger network of healthcare professionals. Then, we will be able to move forward on creating a database and communication system for the medical facilities already existing in Haiti. We'll do it one solid step at a time."
This article was co-authored by Lauren D. Shinn, a senior at Montclair State University double majoring in Classics and Latin, with a minor in Creative Writing. She aspires to be a lawyer and was recently appointed the campaign manager of Burn Advocates Network. She also interns at Davis, Saperstein, & Salomon, P.C. and strives to incorporate her diverse talents and interests—which include her strong writing skills and her knowledge of multiple languages—in her work for both organizations. Follow Lauren on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook.