I've worked with this physician 2 years before at King's Hospital, so it was terrific seeing her and working with her again. Aside from clinical stuff, we also chatted on medicine and life in general, and we really had an enjoyable time catching up. I love how medicine and kids transcends different cultures and countries and can be the common denominator which unites us! Worried but loving parents are the same around the world, as are issues of growth, development, and primary health care. I've also been extremely impressed with the growth of the hospital. In the span of 2 years, the laboratory, pharmacy and radiology areas are stocked and functional. The hospital is fully staffed with around 10 physicians, who are able to provide 24 hour coverage to the inpatient service and see walk-in patients Monday through Friday, 8 to 3 pm. They have a variety of consultations including ob/gyn, general surgery, pediatrics, family practice, internal medicine, and urology. There's a prenatal program for expecting mothers, and now a new nursing school to train a future generation of local Haitian nurses. King's Organization also continues to have their orphanage, King's Garden and it's primary school. There is a new playground for the kids, and there are plans to expand the schools and hospital!
Being there and seeing the progress was immensely gratifying. I even felt redundant in my physician's role, as I felt comfortable with the care the Haitian physicians were providing the pediatric patients. They are dedicated and hard-working, committed to improving health care in their country. I am extremely honored to be an eyewitness to this evolution and growth. Instead, I felt my role to be more of a source of support, education, and encouragement. There is a long road ahead for Haiti's medical staff and hospital, but the vision of local, sustainable and effective health care is becoming more and more realized.
The "high" and the "low" I shared tonight with the group are both sides of the same coin. Coming back to the Morquettes' house and King's Hospital was like returning home. Joyce and I were able to ease right into the Haitian physicians' schedules and were prepared for the diversity of diseases and health issues that afflict the people here.
But there is bittersweetness about seeing King's Hospital flourish. It is now a fully functioning clinic and hospital, with a balance of physicians and nurses sufficient to meet the needs of the community. As it increases, we must therefore diminish, and this is consistent with our intention to empower local efforts to meet local needs. It's a natural instinct to want to see the fruits of one's labor, but the paradigm in God's kingdom is not that we should feel useful, but that we should be available to be used as He wishes.
I saw a patient this week with advanced cancer. It was impossible not to think about how different his fate (and how much longer his life) would have been in the U.S. and how I could do absolutely nothing about it. But when I looked down at his name, I saw that it translated into "the one and only God." It was a poignant reminder to entrust the future of Haitian patients, and Haiti in general, to our omnipotent and merciful God. He has already done a great work of redemption here, and I believe He is not yet done.