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The New Adventures of Hayley Goldbach (’15): A Week in Haiti

Cropped-img_07061Before she fully dives into the communications piece of the NBC News Global Health and Media Fellowship (next stop: India), Perelman School of Medicine student Hayley Goldbach scrubbed in for a few procedures at the L’Hopital Bernard Mevs in Haiti.

In a second blog post for this series, Hayley shares her experiences of the week she spent in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Delivering a placenta! Sewing a knife wound victim—and his attacker!

Check out some excerpts and photos from Hayley’s blog below:

June 9, 2013:

Here and Happy

After an uneventful flight I have arrived at L’Hopital Bernard Mevs- which is literally minutes from the airport in Port-au-Prince. It has already been such an amazing experience and I am most shocked by how much French I remember. I mean, I still probably sound like a preschooler with a serious head injury but a lot of it has come back and others sometimes ask me to translate.

I am working in the pediatric ward this weekend and I’ve already made about 7 new best friends ranging in age from a 1 year old with serious hydrocephalus to a 9 year old who loves to write the letter S. He was my favorite because he called me over “ey-lee!” and then when I asked him what he wanted he whispered something in my ear in French. After a couple of attempts I realized that he was tattling on his neighbor, an 8 year old who had removed the oxygen tubing from his nose. Adorbs.

It wasn’t all sunshine, though…..Read more here.

June 12, 2013

Emergency Placenta!

Imag2546After things died down around 8pm a few of us threw on flip flops and headed to the roof of the hospital. We heard a woman wailing and some sort of commotion outside the gates. Lo and behold it was a woman in labor. She made it all the way to the hospital only to give birth literally right outside our gate. A for effort? We saw a healthy looking infant handed off to someone and the woman was escorted inside in a wheelchair. Because we are not an Obstetrics hospital, we don’t do births… but you can hardly turn someone away who literally went into labor on your threshold.

All of a sudden we hear someone yell, “does anyone know how to properly deliver a placenta?” It was like a batsignal…what every med student dreams of….Read more here.

June 14, 2013

Daily tragedies

And again, the embodiment of the roller coaster of working in a developing country. The day after the baby was born we had a baby die. He came in unresponsive and I helped the resident run the code until others arrived. Despite aggressive measures, we couldn’t bring him back. I did several rounds of CPR on him which involves chest compressions. It is such a sickening feeling to push on a baby’s chest, especially when you know how dire the situation is.

The next day was even worse….Read more here.

June 16, 2013

All hands on deck

Working in a resource poor setting is very much an all hands on deck type of experience. But as a medical student, I am often aware of my limitations. It’s strange. In some ways I am awed by how much I’ve learned. I know that I would be totally overwhelmed if I had come here as a first year or even a year ago. And yet, I wish that I were an attending or resident or a nurse or respiratory therapist- someone who can speak with confidence about something…anything. Currently I’m an expert at cutting tape and memorizing molecular pathways.

Img_0531But the truth is that we all have something to contribute. Even me. And not just placenta catching! Besides having a bit of derm knowledge (which came in handy today…more about that in another post), turns out I am one of the more experienced suture-ers on the team. Which means that I got to teach a bit (!!) and that when he had a knife fight victim…it was up to me to sew his laceration. We called an ear, nose and throat specialist because the cut extended to his lip but the surgeon was unimpressed and told me to do it. I did it and heaved a sigh of relief that it looked OK…

And then the “other guy” (his victim? His attacker? Who knows) came in…Read more here.

Check back for Hayley’s first India blog post. She’s off to the World Health Organization in New Delhi.

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