MIAMI (CBS4) – In September two Jackson Memorial Hospital nurses with more than three decades of experience between them took that knowledge and compassion to Port-au-Prince.
They volunteered to help Haitian nurses in the aftermath of January’s devastating earthquake and now, the two are going back again to try and help the crippled Haitian medical community.
“We used whatever we could we had to improvise a lot,” JMH nurse Yves Dehaut said.
For Dehaut, the trip was especially tough because he was born and raised in Haiti and his father still lives there.
“When I first went, I was very emotional,” Dehaut said. “I actually lost a family member down there. Now, I’m much better because I’m going to help.”
Dehaut and fellow JMH nurse Elizabeth Joseph worked in the sub-par conditions trying to save lives. The duo helped deliver a healthy baby while they were there.
But, they also noticed Haitian nurses, while very dedicated, lacked some of the key knowledge needed to help care for their patients. So, the duo are now going back on their own time to conduct an intense training course with 30 Haitian medical personnel.
The nurses hope the hands-on learning will lead to sustainability.
“At some point the American staff will be dwindling down, and the Hatian nurses and medical staff have to take over,” JMH nurse Elizabeth Joseph said.
Donated medical supplies have been shipped down, while Dehaut labored to translate an extensive nursing guideline from English to French.
The two are traveling to Haiti at a crucial time for the medical profession. The cholera outbreak has claimed nearly 600 lives and has now moved to the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Doctors are concerned the disease could be expanding and could become a threat to the United States, especially South Florida.
“I have some family members and friends telling me, ‘why are you going at this time,” but I’m not seeing it that way,” Joseph said. “I feel my mission is to be there; and help them; and educate them; and nothing else matters at this time.”
Nurse Yves and Nurses Elisabeth will leave Thursday for their 5-day medical mission in Haiti.