Dr. Fred McGlynn and his nurse, Sandy Lawson, recently returned from a medical missions trip to Haiti, sponsored by Salva Vida Medical Foundation. Take a look at their reflections after their return.
Reflection from Dr. Fred McGlynn:
“The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner
Haiti has been a re-baptism for me for the past 25 years. I am humbled by the joy of the children, the spirit of those healthcare providers that have so little to work with, and the resiliency of the people to deal with the disasters of earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and continued political chaos.
We have been blessed to network with 2 organizations in Jacmel – southern Haiti. Pazapa (“one step at a time” in Creole) is a handicapped school that refers children with physical disabilities – clubfeet, crooked legs, congenital and traumatic deformities – that makes living in Haiti difficult for them and their families. CCH (Community Coalition for Haiti) has built 3 OR’s and a rehabilitation unit since the earthquake 5 years ago that destroyed the main hospital in southern Haiti – CCH allows us to safely operate on those in need.
Both organizations provide sustainable care and have Haitian staff that we work closely with. We now send 2 groups to screen, operate and do follow up care with the Haitian staff. We just returned from Haiti with 3 Orthopaedists and 3 nurses – screening children (well over 100 during the week) for planned surgeries with returning Orthopaedic team in February, 2016. When we return – we will bring Anesthesiologists, nurses, an equipment manager, and needed supplies and medications for planned surgeries on these children.
“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
“What you leave behind is not what you engrave in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others” – Pericles
Reflection from Sandy Lawson:
This was my first trip to Haiti, joining Dr. McGlynn and his medical mission team sponsored by the Salva Vida Medical Foundation. I feel very blessed to have had this wonderful opportunity and it has definitely been a life-changing experience. This was a prescreening trip to prepare for the orthopaedic team to return in February and perform the surgeries. We saw over 100 patients-many families and children with congenial deformities, like club feet and bow legs. We also saw some patients with infections.
Many of our patients didn’t know their age but they could tell you how many mountains it took to get to the clinic. Some had waited months to have their injuries evaluated. One patient, in particular, still stands out in my mind. His story was heartbreaking as he was a 30 year old with a badly distorted shoulder. He noticed it in October and it had been continually growing. It was discovered that he had a huge tumor that had metastasized all over his body.
I was amazed at the contrast of poverty in some areas and then absolute beauty in others. Everyone there knew Dr. McGlynn and it was adorable to see how all the children would run after him calling out, “Dr. Fred” and “machines.” Dr. McGlynn always has little gifts for the children when he visits and the matchbox cars, which they call “machines,” are a big hit. We visited the Sisters of Charity of Mother Teresa while we were there and were able to spend time with the other medical teams. It was so nice to be able to walk to mass every day from the place we stayed.
This trip has really put a lot of things in perspective for me. It was truly rewarding and humbling to help these patients and I am grateful for the time I spent there. We were able to help many people and lined up about 20 surgeries for the team going in February. There were some who didn’t need surgery and we were able to get them in for physical therapy. I think the hardest part for me was knowing that you just couldn’t help some of them. My heart and prayers are forever with them.