Broken for the Broken

It’s been a busy several weeks.  Clinics have kept me very busy. 

The other day I received a call from HERO while I was at clinic.  They needed help with a Medivac.   I assumed a transport to the airport to meet a plane for transport to the U.S.  But actually, this was for the transport to the U.S.  An American had come to Haiti for a weeks and while he was here they were involved in a car accident. 

He wasn’t injured in the accident but with his history of high blood pressure he had a hypertensive crisis which resulted in a stroke.  He did not have insurance and thus no hospital would accept him.  Without an accepting hospital no Medivac will leave the U.S. to come to Haiti.  The best option the family found was if they could secure $300,000.00 USD in cash the hospital would accept him.  So, after 5 days with some creativity we finally figured out a solution.  For 4 of those days the patient was on a ventilator so it’s not like he wasn’t in critical condition. 

We went to the ICU and picked the patient up in the ambulance, transported him to the airport and placed him in a private jet for a flight to Miami.

 If only that had the Kelby's Kids logo on the side! 

If only that had the Kelby's Kids logo on the side! 

We had a fair amount of equipment, but it was a little different to know that no matter what happened we were on our own out in the middle of the ocean for a while.  Things went very smoothly and the patient did well during transport. 

Upon arrival to Miami we turned the patient over to the local EMS for a transport to an ER that had agreed to see him to work him into the system.  He was eligible for Medicare insurance and once he was on the ground in the U.S. but he could not be signed up while outside the U.S.

 The crew was very interested in our work in Haiti with HERO Ambulance

The crew was very interested in our work in Haiti with HERO Ambulance

The patient’s daughter emailed us a few days later and said that he had surgery the next day and was expected to make a full recovery!  He would have died if he would have remained in Haiti.

I am so thankful that as of December 15th I now have medical insurance which covers me in Haiti and the U.S. as well as medivac coverage.  His plane ride on a “non-medical” aircraft was still $13,000.00 which will be out of pocket for him.

It was also nice to get to spend the night in a nice hotel room.  We turned the A/C way down and crawled under the blankets and didn’t need a mosquito net!  I slept like a rock that night.  The next morning, we flew commercial back to Haiti.

While finishing up some details from the trip that evening I was asked if I wanted to go on another medivac the next morning.  I asked if it was the same thing and was told no this was just a short hop across the island for a psychiatric patient.  I said sure it sounds like a fun trip.  A small plane is the best way to see the beauty of Haiti.

 Skimming across the tops of the mountains was a lot of fun in the little six-passenger plane.

Skimming across the tops of the mountains was a lot of fun in the little six-passenger plane.

We didn’t know a lot about the transport just that we needed to take the patient on an MAF flight back to Port-au-Prince.  It was a 15 minute flight over a few mountains to get to the north side of the island to Jeremy.  This would have been a 6 hour drive at best in a ambulance, one way.  Shortly after we arrived a truck pulled up and a woman got out and introduced herself.  She asked if we had a female with us.  We said no, just the 3 guys on the crew and the pilot. 

She proceeded to tell us that the patient, we’ll call her Hope, was rescued out of years of sex trafficking.  She said that Hope was very upset and confused about what was going on and that going with men was going to be difficult for her.  She said that she had had several breakdowns and became violent while in the rescue center.  That is why she was being transferred to an inpatient psychiatric facility.  When Hope got out of the truck she started crying. 

The closer she got the more upset she became.  Before we left Port-au-Prince we were prepared to restrain the patient and sedate her for the flight for the safety of the pilot, ourselves, the patient and the aircraft during flight.  We quickly decided that we would have to sedate her.  We had to hold her down on the tarmac to giver her the injection before we could even get her to the plane.  This was a little more difficult and risky as we knew that Hope had contracted HIV from her years of abuse in sex trafficking.  It didn’t take long before my heart started to break for Hope. 

At 17 years old she had already been through more than one should experience in a life time.  I realized that though upset, she actually never tried to hurt us, most likely because of the repercussions that would normally have brought.  It was pretty obvious that was a lesson in submission that was a long time coming before she had finally been broken.  Her body was covered in scars.  Everywhere except her face because that’s where the money was.  She was a beautiful girl but was so broken.  I can’t even fathom the years of abuse that Hope had endured.  It was not easy to tie her down in the plane.  She did not know why she was being restrained and I felt like I was repeating the night mare that she has lived for so long.  I know that she probably thought the rescue mission had tricked her and she was going right back to the life she thought she had escaped from. 

Although sedated, she was still awake.  She talked to me, I am sure begging me not to hurt her, and I talked to her trying to tell her she was safe, although neither of us really understanding the other.  The flight back to Port-au-Prince went well and before long we were back safely on the ground. 

We transferred her to the ambulance she was a little uncooperative as she was probably hoping to escape what she thought would be coming.  So again, we had to restrain Hope to the cot. 

As we were leaving the airport she was looking around and I think she understood she was in an ambulance.  She wanted to see where she was and was trying to look out the back windows.  The back of the cot was not working so it would not set up. 

I loosened the restraints some and she leaned up to see.  She became much more calm while being able to look out the back windows.  I put my arm under her back to help hold her up so she could see.  When we arrived at the facility we had to go to there was a change of plans as we had to take her to the doctor before she could be admitted.  So, we set for a while trying to figure everything out. 

While we were waiting I untied her hands, so she was more comfortable.  My arm and my back were getting tired from holding her up.  But I could tell that she didn’t want me to let her go.  After a few more minutes waiting she put her head on my arm.  Just before she fell asleep I put my hand on hers and she held it tightly. 

It almost brought me to tears as I held this young girl.  I didn’t even want to think of all she had been through.  Her hands and arms and legs and feet were covered in so many scars.  I wanted to take a picture of her hand to share with you as a symbol of her broken and difficult life. 

But even more I wanted her to feel safe and didn’t want to let her go.  One of the other guys took a picture of us while we waited.  When it was sent to me I didn’t think I could share it.  But then I decided that Hope needed a voice.

Child and sex trafficking are very real and happen every day. 

I also believe that this picture is a symbol of the privilege I have to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the people I care for. 

When I met Hope I am sure that she thought she was going to be sexually assaulted once again.  But within about 30 minutes she had a complete change in her and felt comfortable and safe.  I believe that came through the love of Jesus.  It is my prayer that there is a hope for a brighter future and a life saved from the evil in this broken world for Hope.

 Broken for the broken

Broken for the broken

The other day at malnutrition clinic a mother brought in her child for the program.  He was 3 years old and only 18 pounds.  He is disabled and very underweight. 

While assessing him we noticed that his feet were wrapped up.  Mom down played the problem when we asked why she had them wrapped, most likely out of embarrassment.  She said he had sores on his feet.  After we admitted him to the program we took him back to look at his feet.  He had more than a sore on his feet.  Mom finally confessed that they are very poor and live up in the mountains and that sometimes at night the rats try to eat his toes. 

The little toe on his left foot is almost gone and the rest of his toes have bite marks in them.  We cleaned them and put dressings on them.  At least now his feet will be protected.  I just hope they don’t move to his hands.

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Please pray for him and his Mamma.  He hasn’t come back for bandage changes and didn’t come to the malnutrition clinic this week.  I am worried about him.

Last week at medical clinic we had a girl show up that had been in a fight.  She had 2 deep avulsions to her left arm from being cut with a broken bottle. 

She had gone to 2 hospitals and neither would help her.  So, she came to our clinic.  A little while later a second girl showed up and the second of the 3 girls that were fighting.  She had a deep puncture wound to her leg from a bottle.  She also had been to 2 different hospitals without help.  They had packed her wound with cotton so it tool a long time to pick all the cotton out of the wound.

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This is the end result of my work with the 16-year-old with the arm injury.  I won’t show you the before picture because I don’t want to lose readers.  Suturing is really out of my scope of practice.  But, it was help them in my clinic or let them go home and try to let it heal on its own.  This would have made a tremendous scare as it was very wide but would have most likely also gotten a really bad infection.  I think it looks pretty good for having no formal training in suturing!

I missed a delivery that the mom wanted me to help with last week.  She waited to long to call and by the time I got there everything was over.  So just a couple days later I got a call and was asked to help another momma.  This time I arrived about 3 hours early.  But on Saturday the 16th at 9:03 am this little angel came into the world.  I helped mom as she delivered laying on the concrete floor of her little house.  Baby and mom are both doing fine!!

 I earned my second pink stork pin in Haiti!!

I earned my second pink stork pin in Haiti!!

This little guy is one of a pair of twins.  He was 3 weeks old and only weighed 1.87 kg (4.11 lbs).  He was so little and so frail.  He looked like a little old man.

 He just needs somebody to care!

He just needs somebody to care!

Mom had died during child birth.  We didn’t think the Aunt could handle caring for them properly by herself as it would take constant care keep both of them alive.  We transported them to an inpatient malnutrition center where they would have the best chance.  A few hours later we got a phone call from the inpatient center and they told us that they told the "Aunt" she was a liar and she finally confessed that she was the mom and didn’t want to breast feed her kids.  She was the 3rd mamma to lie to us that week. 

There have been some major changes in the malnutrition program to prevent some of the dishonesty and scamming that has begun taking place. 

I want to be a good steward with the money that you provide so that this ministry can continue while still giving these children every opportunity to survived and succeed in life despite some of their parents.

 Hanging out with the kids!!

Hanging out with the kids!!

I am sad to report that I am no longer at the school. 

Shortly after moving things started to become very difficult.  I knew based on history that it would not be healthy for me to continue working at the school every day. 

I have packed up my equipment and supplies at the school and will no longer be serving there.  The children and others in the community I worked with will still be able to come up the road to the other clinic location to have their needs for care met. 

If you have any questions about this situation feel free to contact me at Kelby@Kelbyskids.org

On the other side is this will make it easier to have enough time to start my maternal health clinic!!  I hope to get things up and running in January when I return from a short break with friends and family in Michigan over Christmas!

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your faithful support of Kelby’s Kids in 2017.  You have truly saved lives, brought hope, and made a difference in the lives of a lot of kids and there families.  The maternal health clinic will add additional expenses to the budget but if you look back through the stories from this blog you will see where lives were saved already with some of the mothers that I have worked with. It's a very serious need in Haiti.

I am excited to see where 2018 takes us and hope that you will be a part of it.

Praying you have a very Merry CHRISTmas and a blessed New Year!!

Until No Child Dies,

Kelby