Daemen athletic training, physical therapy, nursing, physician assistant, and pre-med students again traveled with doctors from the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation on the organization’s second medical mission to Haiti.
In May, 2011, Daemen students traveled to Haiti with the Williamsville, New York based Foundation, to provide surgical and other treatments to the impoverished city of Les Cayes, on the country’s southwest peninsula.
In May, 2013, doctors with the Foundation, accompanied by Daemen health care students, returned to Haiti to deliver care to the residents of Les Cayes, observing, diagnosing and performing 60 surgeries, including multiple fracture repairs and keloid scar removals.
During their four days at Immaculate Conception Hospital, Daemen nursing student Garin Smith examined a young boy who appeared to be in a lot of pain, and discovered the reason was a malfunctioning IV, preventing delivery of pain medication to the boy. Smith and Daemen nursing students assisted in reinserting an IV, then found the child had a broken leg, two broken wrists, and a dislocated elbow. Despite the seriousness of the injuries, the boy had not been able to get the proper surgeries.
University Orthopaedics doctors Robert Smolinski, Mark Anders, and Craig Blum, along with students, performed the needed surgeries — inserting a metal plate to set the broken leg, and setting both wrists and the elbow.
“One of the most valuable benefits for the students on a trip such as this is to have the opportunity to see the world as much of it really is,” noted Dr. Smolinski.
Dr. Jeffrey Meilman, Chairman of the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation and a member of the Daemen College Board of Trustees, has traveled the world providing free medical and surgical care to residents of developing countries. The devastation that struck the segment of the Haitian population hit by the 2010 earthquake was particularly significant to him.
“I have been doing this in a lot of countries for the last 22 years. I can tell you this is one of the most needy places,” he stated. To emphasize his point, Meilman noted that prior to the Foundation’s 2011 Mission to Haiti, Les Cayes had not seen a general surgeon for seven years.
“The hospital there serves a population of about one million. So this means there were no gallbladder surgeries, no tumor removals, orthopedic operations, nothing during that time. There is a great need for health care in Haiti, but practically none of their national budget is dedicated for this.”