I have told patients to go to the hospital on numerous occasions throughout the years when I felt their lives were at stake. If they went to the hospital, I knew an emergency surgery or infection requiring IV antibiotics would be addressed immediately. No questions asked. There have also been times in Haiti when I have made the same recommendation. Very infrequently do patients opt for care in the hospital. Today I found out why.
The day started with the regular cases of high blood pressure, diabetes, viral illnesses and acid reflux. A reporter from the Voice of America Kreyol came to the clinic and interviewed myself and my friend, Kettlie, regarding our two organizations working together in Haiti. Even the baby that was deathly ill last year returned but he had gained 1.5#. He was a treasure to hold.
A little after noon, however, the winds shifted and the easy stuff turned complicated. The woman with the aneurysm had slightly lower blood pressure, but no real improvement. Then, the mother that was postpartum returned. She was sweating profusely and breathing fast. Her vitals were completely normal otherwise. Her temperature, blood pressure and blood sugar did not reflect the woman in distress before me. I can't explain it it, but I felt that she might die (even though "on paper" she was fine). I told her husband that she needed to go to the hospital. He looked confused. I offered to go with her and he proceeded to flag down a Tap Tap. Before we got loaded in, a friend came by and drove us in his car. The hospital was about 20 minutes away. When we arrived, I explained her presentation yesterday, what medications she was taking and she was immediately taken to a room. A doctor came out of the room with a piece of paper. Written on the paper were three medications (two were IV meds). They felt she was septic. Now, I was confused. Why were they giving us a list when she could be dying??? So my friend explained that the hospital wouldn't treat her until we purchased the medication. The hospital pharmacy was closed and we waited for about five minutes for them to return only to tell us they didn't have one of the medications. So, we went to a money changer to get Haitian gourdes and search for another pharmacy. After we returned, the nurse informed us that we needed two more medications. So, off we went again. After two hours we finally had everything we needed to care for her. They expect her to be in the hospital for about one week.
If it weren't for the amazing people supporting this trip, and a nagging feeling in my gut, a 13 day-old baby would no longer have her mother. Your donations allowed us to save a life today. Thank you so much.