No HIPAA in Haiti

My patient for the last two days. She has a spinal cord injury and has paralysis in her left arm and both legs. She cries all the time because she can't poop. She calmed down this afternoon and let me hold her!

My patient for the last two days. She has a spinal cord injury and has paralysis in her left arm and both legs. She cries all the time because she can't poop. She calmed down this afternoon and let me hold her!

One thing I noticed immediately at this Haitian hospital is there is absolutely NO PRIVACY. Everything is everyones business. We don't need curtains or gowns or consult rooms. We certainly don't need individual patient rooms.  Oh no. When the neurosurgeons were rounding yesterday, they float from crib to crib in Pediatrics openly talking about each baby (not even TO the parents). Family members of other patients gather and listen. It kind of made me laugh that they are so interested. And the surgeon was mostly speaking English, so they probably don't understand a lot of it anyway! 

The neurosurgeons will do shunt placements on hopefully 3 out of 5 of our hydrocephalus babies tomorrow. One of the moms found out that her baby would not be getting the surgery. She cried and cried. Since there is no privacy for that either, the other moms gather around her and jabber in Creole. I wish I could know what they are saying! How do they comfort each other?? This is the second time one of the moms has had a meltdown and it facinates me that the other moms in your living-room-space come around her and console her. 

The community of developing countries truly is fascinating. In Peds, these families come from all over the country! They don't know each other, but looking at them all in Peds, they seem like family. They bring each other food, give each other money to pay for procedures, and are ALWAYS talking and watching kids for each other. It's beautiful the way they mesh in a scary, painful environment. 

Cuddles. His mom dressed him so cute. My coworker said "looks like he's late for work" because he gets so dressed up in grown up hats. He is about to be discharged in this picture but mom had to pay the bill before they could leave.  

Cuddles. His mom dressed him so cute. My coworker said "looks like he's late for work" because he gets so dressed up in grown up hats. He is about to be discharged in this picture but mom had to pay the bill before they could leave.  

A note about the above picture: I am sweating BULLETS. That Peds unit is the hottest, sweatiest place on earth. There is AC but I doubt it's fully working and there is no ventilation. So having a hot sweaty child lay on me for 30 min really was a sacrifice. But I loved every second of it. 

This is the CT scanner I talked about before. The backside of it is pretty much up against a wall and THATS the entrance side of it.  

This is the CT scanner I talked about before. The backside of it is pretty much up against a wall and THATS the entrance side of it.  

Taken from the entrance of the hospital looking at the back wall. The units are off to both sides.  

Taken from the entrance of the hospital looking at the back wall. The units are off to both sides.  

It's taken 5 days, but today I had those twinges of "I can't go back to real life!" Settling in here was HARD, but now that that's done, the hospital staff and my team mates are starting to feel like family and home...all in different, very strange ways. More to come on that....Zzzzzzz....