Posted by: calloftheandes | September 24, 2010

Hearing the Heartbeat of Haitians During Medical Exams

In tent cities around Caberet, Haiti, life-changing conversations accompany medical consultations as an eight-person HCJB Global Hands team helps some 200 Haitians per day.

Family physician Dr. Brad Quist was finishing his day when he noticed two women standing off to one side. When his interpreter asked in Creole whether they needed a physician’s attention, the reply was, “No, we want to see the pastor so we can accept Jesus as our Lord.”

“I was taken off guard by this unexpected response, but was more than happy to direct them to our Haitian chaplain who in turn prayed with these two ladies,” Quist said. The following day a patient’s cross-shaped pendant served to spur a spiritual conversation.

“I asked him through my interpreter if he knew what the cross meant, and he indicated that he did not,” Quist related. “Once again, I asked my spiritual colleague to step in and talk with this man about Jesus in a language that he could understand.”
The team’s sponsoring agency, Samaritan’s Purse, has committed to providing ongoing care to internally displaced Haitians following the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. Samaritan’s Purse is distributing food to 10,000 households weekly as well as offering shelter, maternal and child health programs, and medical outreaches like those offered by the HCJB Global Hands team.

This marks the third such trip to Haiti by medical staffs from the Vozandes hospitals in Quito and Shell, Ecuador.

“When we arrived the first time, shortly after the earthquake, it was all fractures and wounds,” said family physician Dr. Steve Nelson. “And now it is all malaria and skin problems, infectious diseases and post-traumatic stress issues.”

A reunion of sorts occurred when Nelson and Quist, along with HCJB Global’s Sheila Leech and Ian McFarland, met a Samaritan’s Purse helicopter pilot, Roy Harris, who had transported them around Nias Island, Indonesia, after an earthquake in March 2005.

“We hadn’t seen him since,” Nelson said, “So this was a nice perk.”


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