SBI - Ft Lauderdale Program Director Travels to Haiti to Assist with Disaster Relief
May 17, 2010
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On Jan. 28-31, Pierrot Alexis, CST, BSHA, SBI-Fort Lauderdale Director of Surgical Technology, traveled to Haiti to assist with disaster relief efforts following the earthquake that hit the small Caribbean country on Jan. 12. Alexis traveled to Haiti with the Living Hope Haiti Mission. This mission is sponsored and lead by its founder, Calvin Babcock, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Baptist Hospital in Miami, Florida.
While in Haiti, Alexis’s primary responsibly was to act as a Certified Surgical Technologist and to assist surgeons in all surgical procedures. He also organized and created instrument trays for all surgical technologists to utilize, delegated daily responsibilities for the surgical technologists, transported patients to and from the operating room, maintained operating room supply inventory, and acted as a Creole to English translator for the mission staff and patients.
Alexis was personally involved in 5-6 surgical procedures each day. The patients were treated for a variety of injuries and illnesses such as a mastectomy for a woman suffering from breast cancer, hernia repairs, setting broken bones, and amputations. The team that Alexis volunteered with consisted of 37 medical professionals including plastic surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, general surgeons, nurses, surgical technologists, and orderlies. The members of the team worked for up to 16 hours daily to ensure as many patients were seen as possible and were able to provide medical care for over 100 Haitians during the four day mission.
The team stayed in a compound just outside Port-au-Prince called Double Harvest which consisted of a medical and surgical facility in addition to a fully functional kitchen and six bedrooms, each with a private bathroom and running hot water. Since space was limited, Alexis and other team members slept on mattresses on the outdoor patio.
Pierrot Alexis was inspired to volunteer after seeing the heart wrenching illustrations by the media and reading the countless articles about the Haiti earthquake on internet. Plus, his parents are from Haiti and they currently reside in the United States. He felt that a monetary donation would not be enough and was compelled to play a more active role in the world wide relief effort for Haiti.
Alexis was impressed by the resolve of the Haitian people, who have battled many other challenges in the past few decades, including devastating hurricanes and major political conflict. Alexis remarked on the attitude of the Haitian’s he was able to help on this mission, “Their faith in God and their fellow man is strong, they blame no one for what has happened, their goal during these very trying times is just to survive. [The Haitian people often say], ‘The present is a gift but what may be more precious than that is the gift that tomorrow may bring.’”
When asked what he learned from this experience, Pierrot Alexis said, “I learned that it was great working for a good cause. I was very grateful to have been a part of a wonderful team of professionals and humanitarians. This experience has given me an entirely new perspective on life and was the most enriching experience of my life.”