Nov 11 2013

Medical Mission Trip Brings US Medical Team to Haiti. Auto Accident Highlights Need for Better Emergency Medical Response in Haiti

By: Jill Dulitsky


Medical Aid to Haiti, a non-profit based in West Hartford, Ct, recently sent a U.S. based medical team to Port Au Prince, Haiti to support our Haitian colleagues and work in the field for a week.  MATH supports and funds a mobile medical clinic, servicing four underserved communities a week, including a tent city that was established after the earthquake in 2010.  The MATH motto is, “helping Haitian’s heal Haitians,” and we are proud to provide the financial support and training necessary for the Haitian team to live our mission and vision.  MATH currently provides a continuum of primary medical care and pharmacy services to about 7,000 patients a year.  The majority of these patients have no alternative for healthcare.

In addition to supporting the mobile clinic, MATH sends a US based medical team to provide subspecialty care, support and training about four times a year.  The team that just returned included six people. Dr. Cliff Wagner has been a Director of Emergency Services in Hartford for over 20 years and the past director of the Emergency Department at St. Francis and Mount Sinai Hospitals in Hartford, Ct and Bristol Hospital in Bristol, Ct.  He is Board Certified in Emergency Room Medicine. Mr. Shay Green APRN, is a hospitalist at Middlesex Hospital, a Veteran combat medic with the 82nd Airborne division U.S. Army and an active volunteer fireman. Ms. Maggie Levasseur RN, is Nurse Coordinator of the Malta House of Care Mobile Clinic in Hartford, and has over 10 years of experience in the Emergency Department at St. Francis Hospital. Other team members included Ms. Michelle Wordell RN, a case manager at Brian House, Inc., and hospice nurse. Ms. Kristen Leighton RN is a Medical Telemetry nurse at Middlesex Hospital. Rounding out the team was Maggie McDonough, a MATH Board Member and photographer from West Hartford, Ct.  Ms. McDonough likes to use photojournalism to raise awareness for the many charitable causes she supports. 

MATH was reminded of the importance of our mission during this trip.  While en route to Cabaret, one of the sites we serve, the medical team came across a motor vehicle accident on Route 9.  A taptap, a Haitian minibus taxi, crashed into a vehicle. The ambulance on scene did not appear to have even basic supplies and MATH was happy to provide gloves, dressings for wounds, IV supplies, splints and ice packs. A woman was trapped in the car and surrounded by a large crowd that was manually pulling at the vehicle. Dr Wagner and Mr. Green climbed in with her and remained at her side; protecting her from the crowd; holding pressure to stop bleeding and stabilizing her fractures. They learned she spoke English and was a Medical Doctor. Her main concern was for her 9 month old daughter that had been in the back seat. She was told her baby was fine and being cared for by the MATH team. She expressed her comfort at having these experienced, calm providers at her side throughout this ordeal. When firemen arrived with equipment to help with the extrication, Mr. Green put his volunteer fireman experience to good use as he directed them toward the fastest way to remove her from the vehicle, saving precious time.  

Everyone on both the MATH teams, the full time local staff and well as the US team, worked together to lend assistance in any way they could at this scene. Our driver, Roland, stayed with the team and helped with the final extrication from the vehicle and safe delivery to the ambulance. Jerome Cyprian, MATH’s Haitian full time medical doctor expressed interest in learning more about the emergency care provided by Dr. Wagner and Mr. Green.

For more information on Medical Aid to Haiti, visit our website at