MacGyvering in Haiti

#1 von carlos , 07.09.2012 23:52

MacGyvering in Haiti
Sounded simple enough. Just ship down a high quality dental compressor and we'll have a dental clinic running in no time. And sure enough, it worked great last year. But, just let a few months go by and it's a different story. Now the compressor doesn't cut off and the pressure keeps building until there's this busted hose flailing around the clinic and hissing like a viper.

What to do? There's probably a manual on it somewhere, but who knows where that got off to. A search of the compressor leads to a cut-off switch that appears to be pressure activated. Remove the cover and what you see is shown in the photo. Everything looks fine, except what is that dirt in the bottom of the switch? A closer look and, what do you know? - some insect has built a mud nest right in the switch. Now what? We certainly don't have a spare switch or a spare compressor. Well, for occasions like this, you call for the trip's MacGyver. Every team needs one. This is the guy who grew on a farm, or runs an excavating company, or who has owned six motorcycles, or was driving a real fire-truck when he was 15. Where do find these four people? Well in our case, it's just one guy who is also an EMT and is doubling as a dental assistant. Sure enough, our MarkGyver takes one look at it, says we've got to take the whole thing apart, does so, cleans out the pressure gasket, fixes the blown hose and in twenty minutes we're good to go.

It reminds me of a conversation I had once with a hospital administrator in Haiti. He said, "You know, I can get all the volunteer doctors, nurses, and medical people I want. They're all such good people and think nothing of volunteering in Haiti. But, do you know who I have the hardest time getting and is worth his weight in Prestige beer? - a good diesel mechanic." Or, in our case, a good MacGyver.

carlos  
carlos
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RE: MacGyvering in Haiti

#2 von carlos , 07.09.2012 23:53

carlos  
carlos
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RE: MacGyvering in Haiti

#3 von carlos , 07.09.2012 23:53

Dentists in Action
Since we teased our dentists in the previous blog, it time to make things right and show the reality of how hard the team works when they come to the clinic. Here is short clip of what it takes for two dentists to work in one un-airconditioned room in Haiti, with the help of assistants and an interpreter. Dr. Betsy (on the left of the room) has a real dental chair with all the equipment to do restorative dental work. She mainly sees children 14 years and younger. On the right of the room is Dr. Larkin, who is working on adults, most of whom need to have extractions. Assisting is Stacy and Mark, along with interpreter Johnson. They all start early and don't quit until the sun has set. They've had to deal with intermittent electricity, a shortage of supplies because most are still on a shipping container in Port-au-Prince, and even patients with extraordinarily high blood-pressure. In the first three days they saw 82 patients, many of whom needed work on multiple abcessed teeth. Out in the hallway are just a few of the patients waiting to be seen. Most of the patients are on the back porch.

carlos  
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How do we provide low-cost but high-quality care to over a thousand people a month?

#4 von carlos , 07.09.2012 23:57

How do we provide low-cost but high-quality care to over a thousand people a month? Here is a key factor. Every year we attract a number of new graduates from Haiti's medical or nursing schools. As a condition of their education, they agree to spend one year in "social service". This means that they work at a hospital or clinic in an underserved area for a small stipend. But, the assignments are not made randomly. Rather, the top graduates get first choice on where they will be assigned. And in recent years, they've been choosing Visitation Clinic because of our reputation.

This year, we were assigned two doctors and one nurse. One of our bright and talented young doctors, told us this: "I was blessed to find Visitation Clinic for my social service work." It turns out that she faces some of her own health challenges including very strong allergies. But this hasn't been a problem for her because our cleanliness is so high. She concluded "I don't think I could have succeeded in my social service work at any other place."

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carlos
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