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Molars, extractions, scrubs and surf

March 11, 2010

School of Dentistry Professor Josh Bresler writes from Haiti:

Sak Passe (“what’s up” in Creole)! Today was a success!  We split up into two groups again.  My group went to the village of Robin. This is a small village up in the mountains. It was only about 15 miles away but took almost two hours to get to because the roads were so bad. When we arrived, there were over 100 patients waiting for us. It was very hot today (over 90 degrees) and even in the shade our glasses were quick to fog up. Overall this village had better oral health than others.  Most patients only needed one or two extractions. At 12:30 we had seen all but 18 patients so we decided to skip our lunch break and continue to work so we could stop and eat at a beach we passed on the way to the village. We had incredible luck with the first 12 patients (they were done in about 15 minutes), but as luck has it, the last six patients took a couple of hours with very difficult impacted third molars. We had one patient who fainted after injections but we were able to treat and monitor her without problems. We stopped at the beach for lunch at around 4:00. We were all so tired and dirty from the day that we ran into the water in our scrubs. After a few minutes in the water, a bunch of sail boats arrived into the cove to pickup rice to bring to their villages – it was pretty neat to see.

The other group went to the village of Parity. They also had a successful day of treating patients whose oral health was not as good. One of the students did full mouth extractions on a patient (removing 30 abscessed teeth). Others used a mallet and chisel to remove several difficult and impacted wisdom teeth. They were working under the shade of some trees until a large coconut fell and almost hit one of them. Fortunately, they had the portable x-ray unit and were able to conquer some of these difficult extractions that otherwise may not have been possible.

When we returned to HHF we went to visit the “Center for Hope,” which is a maternal waiting center for high risk pregnancies and children with Kwashiorkor.  These children suffer from severe starvation and amino acid deficiency (the kids with large stomachs and tiny limbs that you see on the TV commercials).  We stayed for about an hour and played with the kids and discussed the nutritional health with some of the soon to be mothers.

There is a gift shop nearby that we stopped to purchase some souvenirs.  We returned to HHF for dinner and are now getting ready for tomorrow’s adventures…


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