Monday, September 29, 2008


Of the 27 Gonaives kids, only one of them, Titrajean (who we have nicknamed Ted) was seriously ill. I sent him out for labs on Wednesday last week and they came back horrible. The poor boy had a hematocrit of 22 and a hemoglobin of 5! I asked Sherrie to get him into the hospital, but when I visited CLM on Monday, he was still at the house. Apparently the doctor had put him on erythromycin and sent him home with a referral for an eye doctor. Great – his eyes are indeed irritated, but they are obviously not causing his anemia!

The assistant director and I took Ted to Grace Children’s Hospital to see the same doctor who had examined him on Friday. The head nurse walked us right past the scores of other people waiting to see the pediatrician and straight into his office. I dropped a copy of the lab work down on his desk and insisted that he re-examine Ted. The man looked over the labs, glanced up in surprise and said, “This boy is severely anemic. He needs a blood transfusion!” As thrilled as I was that he was taking the situation seriously, I was really tempted to ask him why today Ted was severely anemic but 3 days ago, when the doc had the exact same lab results in front of him, all the boy needed was an eye appointment. I wonder if it had something to do with the white person standing in the room?

Grace didn’t have any beds left, but the doctor wrote us a referral so that we could get him into one of the other hospitals in the area. I spent the rest of the day going from hospital to hospital trying to get Ted admitted. One hospital did not have a pediatrician on staff and did not want to take the risk of accepting such an ill patient. Another hospital made us wait for 45 minutes before telling us that they had no beds available either. A third hospital would not answer its phones, so we didn’t even go there. We finally had to give up because it was starting to get dark.

On Tuesday, Lisette tried again to get Ted admitted and to get him a transfusion, but we could not find a hospital that would take him or a doctor that would transfuse him. Of course, there is the possibility that even if a doctor had prescribed a transfusion, that the Red Cross would not have had Ted’s blood type and we would have been forced to wait several days for it to arrive. They finally got seen by a doctor who asked for stool samples (to check for internal bleeding and GI infection). Ted has been at home all week, sleeping all day, taking mega doses of vitamins, and waiting for a bowel movement. My last update (on Sunday) was that they got a sample from him, but it got lost before they took it to the lab. Ah, Haiti. So now it’s the waiting game again. The vitamins must be helping some because he has been out of bed a few times playing card games and matchbox cars with his friends.

Please keep Ted in your prayers. He’s a precious little boy and I really want him to get better.

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