Category: Haiti

Mar 21

RTHK Documentary on Medical volunteer work in Haiti

Lucci Liyeung’s first ever RTHK Documentary of medical volunteer work in Haiti – Video is now available on Youtube =)

義行多國度 – 重建路漫漫
海地位於加勒比海上,是西半球最貧窮的國家。 2010年1月12日,一場七級大地震奪走了海地二十多萬人性命,超過二百萬人流離失所。災後一年內,再爆發霍亂疫症,世界各地志願組織紛紛趕至援助。來自香港的義工Lucci,於2010年12月,第二次踏足海地參與重建工作。 在香港中文大學醫學院就讀五年級的Lucci,夢想是加入無國界醫生。
她早在進醫學院前,已開始參與跟醫療相關的義工,曾經在非洲、南美洲等國家的醫院、孤兒院及動物診所服務。雖然只是醫科學生,但在貧窮落後地區,往往因為人手不足,令Lucci有機會參與前線醫護工作。而累積多次義工經驗後,她不單感受到幫助人的喜悅,亦堅定了自己行醫的路。 再次踏足海地,Lucci被派到位於首都太子港西面,約兩小時車程的萊奧甘(Leogane)市,在一所剛重建完成的醫院內當義工。2010年海地七級地震中,由於萊奧甘接近震央,災情比太子港更嚴重,無論醫療、建設上都極需援助。 在Lucci投入海地服務期間,卻遇上當地人因不滿總統選舉結果而引發騷亂,基於安全理由,所有義工被逼留在大本營內,首都機場更一度關閉。失望與擔憂之餘,Lucci卻能利用多出來的時間,參與繪畫衛生教育漫畫,幫助海地小朋友認識預防霍亂,令她在醫療專科以外,也發揮了繪畫的才華。

編導:方樂群
助導:郭可芹
播映日期 :2011年2月5日(星期六)晚上八時, 亞視本港台

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May 14

Kung fu

my mission: educate people in every single country that just because someone has brown eyes, black hair and yellow skin without having jaundice DOES NOT automatically make them a fucking Kung Fu fighter

20+ years of my life, 40 countries, been asked that bloody question over a trillion times.

next time i’ll answer ‘if i were u i would back off, i’m a kung fu master don’t mess with me’

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May 11

Hispaniola

Hispaniola is an interesting island. it lies in the caribbean sea and is divided into 2 countries, on the east coast there’s Dominican Republic, a country that nurtures baseball geniuses that eventually get signed by major league baseball clubs in the USA: examples are Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, to name a few;
on the west coast there’s Haiti, where people can’t even hold a baseball bat properly.

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May 11

Malaria scare in Haiti

My first ever overnight stay at a hospital as a patient was in a temporary tent hospital in Leogane, Haiti!

Okay so this is what actually happened:

2 nights ago I had the following symptoms:
fever and chills
severe headache
myalgia
nausea
dizziness
diarrhea (after 7 days of no bowel output)
general malaise
loss of appetite
postural hypotension
which were 100% suggestive of malaria

- Differential diagnoses
gastroenteritis: salmonella
amaebiasis
dengue fever

Couldn’t really fall asleep, and on my way to the toilet I met a staff and told her that I was feeling shit. she said another volunteer had been feeling funny too so we headed off to the a&e of the tent hospital where I helped out for the past week which is 3 minutes walk away…. only to find out that it’s closed for the night.

So we headed back to the basecamp, took some ibuprofen to symptomatically treat my headache and chills and TRIED to sleep.

The next morning I felt much better but by afternoon the same cluster of symptoms started to emerge again and I took my temperature. 38.8′C, 102F.

Last week a girl with 103F had to be evacuated by a helicopter to dominican republic (the neighbouring country with better health care), just 1 degree away n I get to ride a helicopter!

Anyway, I immediately talked to some other volunteers and they kindly walked me to the a&e, which was finally open.

The Haitian nurses there recognized me as a volunteer for the past week and greeted me with a wide smile. some American volunteer nurses were there and took a history from me. Noticing that I’m a pretty proficient historian (i.e. using medical jargons) they asked me what I do.

“4th year medical student”, I said

“oh very good! what are you planning to specialize in?”

“umm, orthopaedics” I have no idea how that came out of me so quickly

I told them that I was worried about malaria since I’ve been having all those symptoms. I have been taking Chloroquine as malaria prophylaxis, but it’s not always 100% effective especially with the rise of drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum – the most malignant strain of malaria parasites. It could have just been my chronic medical student syndrome though, but I’d still like a rapid malaria test just in case. Better safe than sorry.

They don’t have the luxury of those fingerprick pens like the ones we use for blood glucose. instead the nurse used a sterile needle and poked my finger directly.

“Wow you don’t really like to bleed, do u?” then she poked me again

They took my vitals, I was very tachycardic (120), tachypneic (20) and hypotensive. I didn’t even know that I was flushing until they told me so. I reminded them to rule out dehydration since I’ve been very well hydrated and electrolyte balanced since I have been making sure that I take in sufficient sodium as well as potassium. Good old oral rehydration solutions…

“Wow, you actually look much better than your signs and vitals!”

Yes. I am invincible.

15 minutes later the malaria test turned out to be negative. *phew*

their plan was to give me ciprofloxacin, broad spectrum antibiotics which basically covers most bugs causing gastroenteritis, metronidazole to cover amaebiasis or any protozoa/parasites (my god, metronidazole tastes even worse than aspirin!!!), and paracetamol for my fever and pain. and they want me to stay around until my temperature goes back to normal, ie. stay over night.

I forgot to bring my books over to read so I lied down and took a nap

“Hello, so are you that medical student from hong kong who wants to do orthopaedics?”

She was a korean-american orthopaedic surgeon.

“The nurses told me about you just now”

She then had a long chat with me about orthopaedics, problems women encounter in this field, and career advice in general.

‘You don’t have to be a beefy Olympic weight lifter to be an ortho surgeon, but u definitely can’t be weak and scrawny’

‘General surgeons hate us, because we work half as hard but earn twice as much’

‘Usually the smartest medical students go to orthopaedics since 1. it’s so competitive, 2. there is so much physics and mechanics behind;
then after a few years they turn out to be the stupidest of all doctors – forgetting all the drugs, not knowing the meaning of blood pressures, and everything’

Then we chatted about joining Medicins Sans Frontieres, balancing time between life as a doctor and family, everything. she even told me to join her at the ortho clinic the next morning!

so staying at the hospital for the night wasn’t so bad afterall!

a little update:

So this is Port-au-prince, capital of Haiti

Life still goes on…

Worked at a rubbling site one day, where we helped clear up collapsed buildings so that new houses can be built at that site again. Neighbourhood kids were so eager to help out!

Cheeky boys posing with my sunglasses

Haitian kids have the habit of greeting random passerby’s and foreigners by yelling
“HEY YOU!!!”
A British gentlemen from my group then corrected them
“In Britain, we say Excuse me”
An American dude then added
“In the States we say YO MOTHERFUCKER!!!!!!”

The orphanage

Art classes

A Haitian girl dancing

Spent a day training teachers on post traumatic stress disorders in children, disaster awareness, and art therapy which may assist in recovery of PTSD.

endless suturing

An orphaned premature (born at 7 months) haitian infant for adoption, safely bound by a mosquito net!

a 3 month old baby went to the xray department and stopped breathing (why did she end up in the xray department nobody knows) she was then brought to the a&e and was resuscitated for 31 minutes with no avail. no one knows the history of this baby and she doesn’t have a mother. she was brought in by a distant relative of her father’s cousin and had very severe abdominal distension. it was probably to late to save her. a doctor from msf came and picked up the body and the a&e became all quiet once again.

There was a little orphaned boy with an unknown rash at the paediatrics ward the other day. after ward rounds I stayed behind and played with him. he took my stethoscope and listened to the chest of his little playmate! when his guardian came and picked him up he held my hand and wanted me to go back to the orphanage with him!

then a little Haitian girl had fun playing with my stetho too!

Look at haiti’s future doctors!

ps I hate the way facebook distorts the hue and saturation and lowers the resolution of the photos I upload! Better quality photos and text will be available in my travel blog (yes I do have one) once I return to Hong Kong!

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May 07

A&E

spent the whole day at the A&E suturing and dressing traumatic wounds, and treated a few testicles the size of a basketball (lymphatic filariasis – transmissable by mosquitoes)

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May 04

Haiti

at Haiti: Totally panic-struck by how mother nature can completely devastate a whole country just by a little shudder. seeing the ruins, all I could think of was ‘now what?’

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Apr 02

At airport gate 21

At airport gate 21… leaving for a place where telephones, Internet and any contact with the outside world is a luxury. the only time I can make a call is when I need an emergency medical evauation by a helicopter. so if you don’t hear from me this month, that means I’m still alive. no news from me is good news. see y…ou all in may, hopefully still in a single piece!

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Apr 01

11 months

11 months since I last set foot on an untamed wilderness, can’t wait :)

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Mar 31

GOODBYE GRUMPY WOMEN AND PREGNANT LADIES! NO MORE O&G FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!!!! HELLO BELIZE, HAITI, PUERTO RICO, DISNEYWORLD!!!!

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