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Haiti Trip, Day 3

March 10, 2010

What a day!   We saw the patient who broke his jaw in the earthquake this morning.  He had bilateral fractures at the corners of the mandible that have already begun to heal.  He told us the story of how a concrete block hit him in the face (he also had 2 broken legs).  He was able to eat, although with come discomfort.  Tomorrow we will fix and remove some of the teeth that were fractured during the accident and we gave him appropriate pain meds to help while the jaw continues to heal.
We split into two groups this morning.  My group crossed the Grande Anse River (via truck) and visited a village way up in the mountains.  When we arrived there were only about 15 patients there but within an hour there were hundreds of people to be seen and to watch.  We worked until we saw everyone that needed our care.  The bone was very strong in this village which made for some tough extractions, but in keeping with our motto – there were “no root tips left behind.”   We saw a seven year old little girl who had an abscessed first molar with a chronic draining extra-oral fistula – the infection was so bad that puss was actually coming out by her chin.  We were able to get the tooth out and clean out the infection.  A desperate mom came up to me and asked me to look at her 2 year old son.  I agreed and she brought him over and removed his pants showing a severely swollen scrotum.  Dr. Cohen and I did an exam and noted that he had a large hernia.  We made plans for the child to come to Jeremie where he will be seen by a general surgeon for a repair.
The other group did not see as many patients in the field but returned to HHF early where they were able to see and treat some of the refugee children from Port Au Prince we screened yesterday.
Another great day!  Everyone is doing well so far!  It is fun for me to watch the students improve their skills with each extraction.  Without the benefit of proper lighting, suction and x-rays, which we take for granted at home, we are back to the basics of primitive oral surgery.  When a tooth breaks we often have to use a chisel and mallet to split the roots or remove bone.  I will try to get some pictures for you tomorrow.


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