When Carwyn asked me to come to Haiti to help set up the emergency department I said no.
It sounded totally out of my depth in a country I’d never dream of visiting.
Now I am here. What changed? A few months later, I heard Carwyn and Reninca share at church about how HHA started, and seeing God working to do the impossible and grow hospital to deliver ever more specialised and expert care was inspiring. God is at work here. I wanted in.
So what’s the plan? The hospital here has built a new shiny building to be the emergency department. Brilliant! But there is limited equipment, limited emergency training and limited systems in place, such as triage. So the plan for the 10 week trip is to work with the staff here in build into their existing emergency care, by investing in them in the form of training and assisting with policies and guidelines.
Am now 2 weeks in and have spent time with the emergency nurses and doctors finding out what the needs are and what training would be helpful. Already we have had some training sessions on how to use the ECG machine and manual defibrillator. A problem here can be lots of donated equipment, without the training or knowhow to use and maintain them. This leads to equipment not being used or falling into disrepair.
Next week I will run a staggered four days of training for nurses, looking at emergency assessment and basic life support, as well as using a lot of group work to help the nurses discuss how they manage different scenarios in their clinical setting. The aim is not to lecture, but to suggest some helpful assessment methods, then get the nurses to work through scenarios and feedback the answers themselves as many nurses have extensive experience with emergencies in their own setting.
I am excited about the department, the wonderful staff and the increased level of care a new department can provide. In following weeks we will work together to implement a triage system, to prioritise the sickest patients to be seen first, not just the ones who arrive first!
Look for updates in the following weeks as we progress on this journey and feel free to follow along.