Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Joins HOPE Volunteers in Haiti
Jason Harris, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, arrived on Thursday evening for his volunteer stint with Project HOPE
By: Brendan Hoffman
With many of the newly-arrived volunteers exhausted after a long week and the regular outpatient services at the hospital closed for the weekend, many of the volunteers took the morning off. Not so with Jason Harris, a pediatric infectious disease specialist who arrived on Thursday evening for his volunteer stint with Project HOPE. Jason and I started off first thing in the morning making the rounds in the pediatric ward, checking on a couple of cases of particular concern before moving on to the young cholera patients, where Jason eventually communicated through the language barrier his desire to collect stool samples from the most recently arrived patients.
The good news is that there was only one new admission this morning, but it’s still important to collect these samples and have them properly analyzed to determine which antibiotics are the most effective against this particular cholera strain. That analysis will take place back at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, so after collecting a few specimens, we made a visit to the lab where Jason and Richelle Charles, another Project HOPE volunteer and infectious disease specialist who arrived with Jason on Thursday, cultured some samples and stored them as best they could before they can get them shipped home. This process continued throughout the afternoon, collecting and culturing samples to be analyzed back in the States.
Meanwhile, most of the volunteer nurses are taking the 3pm to 11pm shift today. It’s nice to see the camaraderie developing between the regular Haitian staff at the hospital and the HOPE volunteers, despite the fact that almost none of them have a language in common. There’s a mutual respect that develops when everybody realizes they’re there for the same reason: saving lives.