Third Edition of Haitian Acute and Emergency Care Conference

On the 26th and 27th of April 2019, the St. Luke Foundation successfully held their third  international conference on Acute and Emergency Care at the St. Luke Hospital. This year the conference focused on the management of trauma cases because trauma patients are common in hospitals while professionals specializing in trauma care are lacking.

During the two days of training, 22 international and national speakers from the University of Maryland, the Mayo Clinic, the US State Department and Global Surgical Destination (GSD), Hôpital Universitaire de la  Mirebalais (HUM), Hôpital Saint Nicolas de Saint Marc (HSN), and Hôpital Universitaire La Paix (HUP) taught participants the skills and techniques necessary to manage trauma patients. Ninety Haitian doctors and nurses had the opportunity to participate in this quality training.

The goal of the organizers is simple but valuable: to equip our Haitian doctors who are daily faced with the challenge of caring for seriously injured patients. In most cases, they are neither emergency doctors, surgeons, or orthopedists. In addition to caring for victims of motor vehicle accidents, which represent a large public health problem, our staff also provides care for patients with gunshot wounds. This kind of trauma has become commonplace in the face of the prolonged insecurity which keeps increasing day to day in the Haiti.

Currently, there are not enough hospitals treating trauma cases in Haiti. With the closing of another facility’s trauma treatment center, St. Luke Hospital has had to start accepting some of these patients. The need is greatly felt as treatment options for patients have become more limited and as St. Luke tries to fill this new void, as a hospital that was not originally intended to provide these specialized services. Our hospital does not have 24-hour surgery or an orthopedic service on an ongoing basis, but it has been forced to receive trauma emergencies at the very least to stabilize and then refer them elsewhere for further care, and sometimes it’s a puzzle to find an hospital that will accept them. In the space of just 15 days during the month of April, St. Luke Hospital received 23 patients suffering from bullet wounds. Trauma cases come from everywhere in Haiti to our hospital.

We do not currently have many trauma specialists but many of the staff have requested further training surrounding trauma care. This is the main reason for the choice of a theme of Acute and Emergency Care. The conference offered many different trainings and workshops including: case presentations, hands-on training in ultrasound, radiological interpretation, simulation-based airway management, chest tube placement, and training in orthopedic care.

Conferences offering trainings like these will help strengthen the medical staff, empower them to better care for trauma patients, and equip them with the skills needed to take action in emergency situations.

After the conference, every participant received a certificate from the Memorial Hospital of South Bend for 12.5 credits by the Indiana State Medical Association. The participants expressed much satisfaction and would like to see the conference continue in the years to come.