Germain in Haiti: They also came to teach
[Anthony Germain is nearing the end a week-long assignment covering Team Broken Earth, a group of Newfoundland and Labrador nurses and doctors, in Haiti.]
The wee hours, April 4, 2014. Hospital Bernard Mevs.
Massive trauma from violent car wrecks, fixing deformed faces of newborns and treating gunshot wounds are infinitely sexier (as we say in the news biz) than education.
Various members from Team Broken Earth came here prepped with notes, slide shows, and other materials for mini-seminars and informal learning sessions. Away from the Bernard Mevs hospital where the team is based, before heading into surgery, Dr. Andrew Furey was frequently up early giving medical lectures to residents in some of Haiti's state-run hospitals.
While I don't see this prediction happening soon, Dr. Furey and his colleague Dr. Art Rideout frequently say their ultimate goal is to do themselves out of the volunteer jobs they have taken on here.
Smiles and sharp questions
If you've been following these entries, you know that the team of Newfoundland medical personnel saved lives this week, and they've fixed painful injuries and other ailments — often in dramatic fashion. But Broken Earth's presence here is about something bigger: helping Haitians to learn how to take care of themselves.
When I sat in on some of these teaching sessions, I saw young Haitian residents and nurses deeply engaged in meaningful discussions with knowledgeable team members on a variety of medical topics.
Perhaps I'm feeling guilty for falling into another of the news biz's vulgarities: "If it bleeds, it leads." (And, believe me, there have been a lot of bleeds).
- Day 1: The start of a journey
- Day 2: Ingenuity and an overwhelming need for care
- Day 3: The messy stuff is better described than shown
- Day 4: Life may be precarious, but it does go on
- Day 5: The many orphans of Port-au-Prince
Education is more difficult to report on, and it isn't visually interesting, But informing the upcoming generation of Haitian doctors and nurses about the latest surgical practices, new technologies and pharmaceutical innovations is as important as all the work done here this week in the clinics, operating rooms, or the emergency department.
I saw smiles and heard sharp questions from the soon-to-be doctors and nurses in this country. The impact of Team Broken Earth's presence here this week may be greater for the way it touched peoples minds than for the number of people it treated.