The Haitian fishermen were already in the water as the hospitality boat cruised by on its way to the Coast Guard base medical clinic site.
Trash speckled the liquid landscape as the team drew closer to the harbor. We sailed past pink shoes, all types of plastics, and white Styrofoam carry-out food containers on the 20-minute journey to shore.
The mountains stared back at us with a warm glow across its sparsely tree-lined face. Concrete homes were tucked into the mountains and stacked one on top of the other.
This was the first time our volunteers were able to see patients at a medical clinic site.
“It went smoothly, I was impressed,” says volunteer Dr. William Owen, a pediatrician. “Sometimes it feels like you are putting bandages on, but I feel good about the work we did today.”
Volunteers treated some interesting cases at the medical site. One of the Internal Medicine doctors examined a woman with a needle embedded in her arm. It had been there for three months. By that time, the needle could not be pushed out. It had to be surgically removed because the body protects itself and had already started to wall off the object.
Volunteer Dr. Irene Restaino, a pediatrician, also cared for patients with severe cases of scoliosis.
With the heat index well over 100 degrees, volunteer Nurses Wendy LaFargue and Kate Plenert kept the waiting children occupied with games and coloring as they directed patient flow to the doctors under the hot sun.
Everyone was glad to be working full force while enjoying the feel of solid ground.
Volunteers, along with the rest of the Continuing Promise 2011 medical staff treated 645 patients at the medical site onshore and eight surgeries were performed on the Comfort, with four more surgeries still expected to be finished into the night.
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