There has been some great news. I talked to William last night about the container which was feared possibly lost (as some did fall into the ocean), or irretrievable since we had totally lost track of Herbie, the agent the missionaries had sent to PaP to arrange paying customs and trucking the container to Les Cayes. We have found out that HERBIE IS SAFE, THE CONTAINER IS FOUND AND COMING TO LES CAYES, possibly even today. Sorry for the shouting, but this is fabulous news and how we thank all of you who prayed, and the Lord for keeping His hand over this large amount of supplies, donated by many people, paid for with the Lords funds, and now able to come and be used. I just saw a note Wm sent to someone last night and will include this in case anyone who receives this may hear of a possibility of med personnel:
“This is Bill Ten Haaf, general surgeon at Cite Lumiere. Nurses are always desirable under the present work load, as are general physicians/ internists/general surgeons who are willing to do a bit more simplistic work, like skin grafting, wound debridements, etc. We don’t have anesthesia at CSL, Bonne Fin does, we just do our own spinals with Ketamine, and thus keep the cost down. At present, it appears that Brenda Hospital has 6 Brazilian Orthos with NOTHING to do???? I asked if they might want to take some of my case load, do wound care, abscess drainage, cleaning of ortho wounds, NO, just clean ortho. Sorry, at 16 days, there is not a lot of the fun stuff left, just hard work.”
We are praying for those God will enable to come.” Bill
Here is some more information Wm sent last night:
Want to say hi to everybody as at present, it is just quieting down at the hospital.
Today Rod and I made the decision to put up the 5 tents we had been using for the last years at the Sunday School Feeding Program at Renault. They are not needed for that now as we have a permanent building completed thanks to the Faith United Reformed, Byron Center Bible Church, Jamestown Baptist and several other people associated with them. As many of your know from Rod’s letters which you may receive or which Karen has included in these updates (the ones with the pictures), they have opened up the camp site to 200 of the homeless people from Port from our churches there. The plan is to let them live there for like 3 months, then hopefully they can find a place to stay, but the big question then is, where will they go in 3 months? Squatters are a constant situation in this country of no ice and snow and the houses are made from cement (weak though it may be per recent earthquake testing). People normally add on to the house as they have money available and may take 20 years to finish a house. During these years, squatters take up semi permanent residence, somewhat like the homeless do at times in empty buildings in the US. However, these people have lost everything. They brought literally all their worldly wealth along with them when we got the group from Port Monday morning and it was a pitiful amount, but we had a short prayer service with them and the pastor of the church where they had gathered and they were just so thankful that the Lord had kept them from death.
As I have pondered what Rod and Debbie may be facing in 3 months, I am considering a problem of my own, space in the hospital. As you know, we made the decision to give totally free care to victims of the earthquake. My first concern was how to come up with funds to care for them, as they are very ill, have complicated treatments/surgeries, etc, with lots of dressings, medications, etc. By the grace of God and the generosity of His people, a fantastic amount of funds is coming in, enough to cover the first week of treatment, etc. Thanks to the wonderful transportation service of groups like Methodist Habitat for the Bahamas and Agape, we have had enough supplies to cover these first weeks of treatment, food, etc. so that is a great relief. People are also gathering supplies which we will try to get down to Bluffton after I get back in order for them to go on the next container. Praise the Lord, as Karen said, we just heard from Herbie. (He is our agent to clear containers through the maze of red tape of the government; the French seem to exceed the U.S. capacity for bureaucracy, they did the same for us in Togo.) A number of buildings were damaged at the port and several containers were lost at sea as they were tossed there by the quake is what we were told. But, the second container is scheduled to arrive tomorrow at the camp and the medical supplies will be brought here.
Anyway, as we have provided a roof over our patients heads a given fair amount of attention to their physical ailments and hunger, it appears that 30 or so have made a definite commitment to turn to Christ during this turbulent time. Many have seen family members lost for eternity, so we have tried hard to tend to both their physical/medical and emotional/spiritual needs. The feeding program provided includes a rotation of 5 area church groups working every day to make huge amounts of mainly beans and rice. But I now have availed myself of every inch of space in the hospital, as some patients are discharged but don’t leave, having no family left, etc. There is understandable reluctance to go out into the cold, unfriendly world. Because of this, Rod put up tents outside with some cots in them and we literally move the patients out the door onto the veranda/porch. That may seem to be a harsh step, but I have no more place to put patients who continue to arrive daily at our door, again with neglected wounds for which they were unable to find care, or for which they need extended care. In addition, some people prefer being outside in the open air (“under the stars” is their term) these days as they fear another quake. Allegedly we had an aftershock while I was making rounds this morning, which I didn’t notice, at least my writing didn’t get any worse to my knowledge.
Pray for wisdom as to how to resolve this situation. With the increased flow of neglected patients coming, I believe we need some more help to cover the wards and surgeries needed after my scheduled departure on the 6th of February. Added to that is the fact that patients with all sorts of other ailments are coming in as in most hospitals they let them in and make them lie on the floor until they can be seen a week or so later (the Haitian form of socialized medicine?). Thus, I am looking for some flexible general surgeons and internists/general or family practice docs to be here, at least one of each, to work here during the 3 weeks I will be back in the states. There is a lot of pressure on my guys during these trying times. We know the government is keeping an eye on what they do since while they are now legal doctors, they are not allowed to do more than simple things without my presence. Normally, this works pretty well, but right now, people cannot wait until I return for skin grafts, etc. It appears I am the only one here who can do this at present, at least this is what is said when they send me the patients to do grafts on. So, I would love to find some flexible people who can work under less than perfect conditions, with more primitive equipment, etc and keep things on an even keel. I have no anesthetist, you do your own, via the Haitian nurses and doctors giving spinal and/or Ketamine. It works very well and is inexpensive but requires flexibility in adapting to somewhat different anesthesia administration.
Praise the Lord, it appears we do have a portable X-ray unit donated! We anxiously await its arrival via the Bahamas Methodist people, whose planes have so wonderfully helpful in getting us here and flying in medical supplies. I actually was able to meet a group of them over the last few days, including the president today.
Will get to bed as I have another long surgery day tomorrow and at present have no outside help. We are doing well, but I have 80 patients or so to keep an eye on, to round on with my Haitian doctors’ help, and about 12 surgeries to do tomorrow. At this point at least there are no amputations to do, thank the Lord. These dear patients are always so sad as their outlook is bleak; so many are young and now face a crippled future. Pray for continued wisdom, compassion and patience under stretching conditions for us all.
In His Service, with thanksgiving for you all, your help and your prayers, Bill