Saskatoon

Saskatoon doctors bringing help to Haiti

Broken Earth Saskatoon sending team for 1 week to provide health care

Broken Earth Saskatoon Haiti Trip

Dr. Chris Thomson made his first trip to Haiti last march as part of Broken Earth Saskatoon. (Submitted by Chris Thomson)

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It may not seem like a lot of time, but one week of work by a Saskatoon plastic surgeon in Haiti makes a big difference for the people he treats.

"When you go there you start to appreciate everything we have in Canada," said Dr. Chris Thomson, who is heading on his second visit to Haiti.

Thomson is travelling with a team from Broken Earth Saskatoon, part of a national group that he said recognized the need for medical help in Haiti. 

"It's something I've always wanted to do," he said.

Dr. Chris Thomson

Dr. Chris Thomson said the missions to Haiti allow doctors to help people, but also challenge physicians to find different ways of doing things. (Submitted by Chris Thomson)

Thomson went on his first mission in March. Not only did it allow the surgeon to help people, but Thomson said these trips also challenge doctors to find different ways of doing things.

Colleagues once had to use a hand-turn drill to finish a procedure when the power went out, Thomson said. On his trip in March, Thomson turned to vinegar when he needed anti-bacterial dressings for a patient.

'I think it's fair to say life is not easy, and they keep going.' - Dr. Chris Thomson

The doctors' trips are intentionally short. Thomson said this is in part to make sure they don't burn out, but also to make donating time easier.

"Almost everybody has a week to give," he said.

Some of the patients the plastic surgeon worked on included people who had been in motorcycle accidents and who had burn injuries due to cooking with grease over open fires.

Thomson said it gave him an appreciation of his life in Canada.

"Just being in Haiti … my impression of them is that they're very resilient people, very appreciative," he said. "I think it's fair to say life is not easy, and they keep going."