Norton Physician Services hosted a reception to recognize Dr. Josh Meier for his commitment to humanitarian service by participating in the medical mission trip to Haiti View a video summarizing Dr. Meier’s trip that was shown at the reception, and see photos from the event.
Saturday evening at 7:46pm- AT HOME!!!!!!! Well, here I am typing at my own computer at my own desk with my own lovely wife in the next room and my wonderful kids upstairs in bed. Forgive me if I sound excited. I am typing this tonite as I mentioned because my phone suddenly last night decided to stop accepting any chargers, so the battery is now dead. First task in real-life, to the AT&T store tomorrow-after church.
The last 24 hours have been surreal. Flying back yesterday on the Fed-ex Corporate jet, we all finally were able to really relax and rest. We didnt really talk much about the past few weeks, what we had seen and done. I think that we all need some time to think about what it means for ourselves. While we didn't see some of the horrors of the earthquake in the way we might have had we gone earlier, we still were exposed to a lot.
Once we got back to Memphis, the team was greeted by family-alas, mine was still here in Louisville. But I did fine. Derek, his wife and I then shared our first real meal back in the States- a rack of Rendezvous ribs, the best in the world. I left Memphis this morning at 6am for the drive back to Louisville, which was much more pleasant this time around without 10 inches of snow coming down. I arrived home at about 2:15pm today, and was as you can imagine outside myself with joy. Today was spent just relaxing and playing.
I have been unable to get warm today here at home. The temps in Haiti were in the 90's every day, and we all got very used to it. Seeing the snow was very different. I am much more ready for summer than I was 2 weeks ago.
I'm sure that it will take a while to feel "normal" again. I have a busy week upcoming, surgery on Monday and clinic all week. But it will be good to get back to things as they were. If you would have told me 4 weeks ago that I would have a Passport stamp from Haiti, I would have tried to sell you a bridge. But here I am. And I would do it again- but not anytime real soon. Looking forward to going to church tomorrow and resting up for the week. I am hoping to put together a slideshow or something later this month once I get all the pictures from the team- likely over 2000 between everybody. I will attempt to have it put on the the website sometime within the next few weeks, as pictures say a lot more. I may post one more time tommorrow if I have any more thoughts, but if not, thanks one more time for all of you who have prayed, commented, and followed our blog. All of you had a part in helping the people of Haiti through all of us. My wife Kari is such a wonderful wife and mother and kept things just the same all always around here, and I am so blessed to have her and my kids to come home to. See you around town!
Well good morning. It's Saturday around 8 AM and I'm currently on my way back from Memphis driving to Louisville and I'm probably about 4 hours away. Sorry for not posting more yesterday, my phone suddenly has decided to not accept any chargers and I have about 20% of my battery left, so that'll be a nice thing to have to fix when I get back. We made it back safely, obviously, to Memphis yesterday and the rest of the team was greated by family and friends. My reception will be delayed here until around lunch time when I finally get homel, but I'm certainly looking forward to it. There's lots to talk about and I hope to be able to type a post in the next day or two to kind of summarize everything that I wasn't able to say in these little three minute bites, being somwhat limited by the phone application. Yesterday was the one month anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti and there were prayer services all over the country, which I will talk more about what I have more time to post. But for now, we enjoyed our night last night in Memphis and once I get to a point where I can type some more thoughts, I will hopefully later today.
10 AM on Friday.Sitting here at the airport. We've made it through security and are now sitting out on the runway as you can probably hear a large jet liner right behind me, of course right as I make this call. The scene here is quite different than 2 weeks ago. The runway has many less planes than it had previously. While the military presence is still visible, it is much less than it was two weeks ago. Our plane is scheduled to arrive in about an hour and as I'm sure you would imagine, we're all very excited to go. Certainly a lot has happened in the past two weeks and I think that is evident by the amount of traffic here at the airport that's left. We'll talk more later.
Its 7:30 on Friday morning and we are packing up to head to the airport today for our flight home. Le Bonheur had sent so much gear and clothes for us it’s difficult to pack into our bags what we brought because we are coming back with a lot of extra stuff such as clothes and outdoor type gear. We were prepare to be staying out in the woods somewhere from the looks of all the gear that was sent to us, but nonetheless we are very thankful for that, as a lot of it will come in handy working around in the year. It will be difficult to come back to snow and cold as it has been low to mid 90s the entire time we were here. I am ready for golf season at this point, but unfortunately Louisville is not ready for it. So it will have to wait a few more months. Not sure what else to say right now, as you can tell. I’ll talk a few once more when we get the airport and we’ll see what’s going on there.
So here we are on Thursday. It's about 11:30 and some of us have stayed up tonight to simply talk and enjoy our final evening here in Haiti. I have personally enjoy the evening with one last Prestige and a fine Cuban Cigar supplied by our local security guard. There are many emotions going through my head tonight as I think about leaving Haiti tomorrow. Certainly there's the excitement of going home to see my wife and family as well as friends and getting back to the normal work, as well as nervousness about flying home tomorrow as I really don't enjoy flying very much. There's also a sadness to leave this country, which over the past 2 week, I've really found myself becoming very attached to both the countryside as well as the people that we've been able to try and help as well as to share our experiences with each other. This is certainly country with numerous problems, but once you spend some time anywhere, you develop a bond with this place and this is certainly true here. I find myself very happy with my experiences here and have become very attached to the people, both our patients that we have treated as well as simply driving around. For example, today we visited a local street art fair and although bartering is not one of my favorite pastimes, it was nice to enjoy some of the local flavor of the country. I will certainly miss Haiti and I certainly (there I go again using the word 'certainly') hope to come back some day, whether for further earthquake relief or simply other medical mission trips. ...Continued @ 11:59 PM We've made some contacts here that I hope will be useful in the future for any return trips. Therefore I am hopeful that I will be able to return at some point in the future to continue the work that all of us are trying to do. Certainly there is no way that any one person can affect a change of any true magnitude with a situation like Haiti has had to endure, but all of us in our own way, have played a small part in trying to change some of the lives of the people here. In addition, we realize that the people here have played a role in shaping our lives and in fact, most of them will never know what they have done for my attitude and feelings towards this country and their people. I also think about all the people who have followed this blog and have written comments and those of you who have read this blog, and again I am amazed at how many people are interested in what we're doing here. I'm really grateful that you have all chosen to read this and listen to it and please know that in your own way, you have also help the people of Haiti, even if you did not have the opportunity to go. In two short days I'll be back in Louisville and I hope to be able to have some extra time to convey a lot of the thoughts and feelings, in the short 2 or 3 minutes that I have to dictate my experiences here, that I will be able to more accurately summarize all the things that have happened here, as each day there are many things that I simply do not have time to relay or simply forget to talk about. We will look forward to discussing this more and I will continue to post likely through Sunday, as our return trip starts tomorrow. We plan to leave for the airport at 9 o'clock. ...Continued @ 12:03 AM 2/12/10
Continuing again on Thursday evening, we plan on leaving for the airport tomorrow morning at about 8:30 as our fed ex flight will be leaving here from Haiti around 11:15. For those of you who are Seinfeld fans we took a Ted Danson plane down here and hope to have a Ted Danson plane on our return. We plan on getting back to Memphis around 4 or 5pm in the evening. I know many of the team members are anxiously awaiting to reunite with their families back in the airport but for me it will be a little extra time as I will not get to see my family until Saturday. But please don’t feel sorry for me as I have planned with my friend Derek and his wife a night out on Beale Street for some Memphis dry rub ribs prior to leaving for Louisville on Saturday morning. Thanks again for all of you who have offered their prayers and support you certainly need to know how much this means to myself, the team, as well as my family, who have been reading your comments. Most of you who I don’t know in person I would love to have the chance to meet you or say hi, please if you see me at Kosair or anywhere else, do not hesitate to say hi. As I would love the chance to say thank you for all your prayers and support. Again I will likely keep posting through Sunday if anyone is interested, I hope you all have a good night and we’ll talk tomorrow.
Good Morning, its 8:30 on Thursday and we are prepared to spend our final day here at the compound doing some small general surgery cases. We were awakened last night, unfortunately, by the sound of the pouring rain. And I say unfortunately, because if anybody who's ever been camping has had the opportunity to camp when it’s rain, it can be a miserable experience. And a rain here for the tent cities and people that are living in essentially in makeshift dwellings like two sticks and a piece of fabric, the rain I’m sure is a huge problem. Not having seen any of the tent cities yet today. I'm sure that they are soaked dirty and muddy and I can’t imagine the conditions that they must have right now there. This did keep me up quite a lot last night as I listen to the rain and pray for it to stop, simply for the chance that these people might not get completely soaked, living outside. As the rainy season starts to make its way here and we are told that will be around the beginning of April. It’s difficult to imagine the next set of disasters such as flash flooding and in general just completely muddy, wet conditions. How that’s going to affect these people. There are talks of decentralizing the population from Port Au Prince and moving them out of surrounding communities. But there's is not a lot of time that this can be done in the next couple months before the rainy season starts. There are a ton of logistic problems that will be dealt with in the coming months by both our government and the government of Haiti, but this will pose to be a challenging problem. We will see how today goes I think most of us are looking forward to it and we will talk some more later.
It's about 10 o'clock on a Wednesday evening. I always have to stop and think for a few minutes as to far as, as far as, which day it is as it is been kind of nice not to have a clock or a calendar to have to look at. It’s also been nice in addition to not have to worry about the phone ringing in the middle of the night, being on call, and not having any charts to look at in the morning. Although that being said I am starting to look forward to get back to a more normal life style in another few days. As we have one more day here in Haiti, I’m starting to allow myself to think a little bit of getting home, although not too much, as I like it very much here. Part of me would like to stay and finish the job that we started. To see our patients and follow them, to remove the cast that we have put on, to remove the external fixers that we have put on, the let these patients go through rehab, and to get back to a decent level of function. But like I said before it very difficult to know that we won’t be able to see a lot of these people with long term help and especially the fact that we know that there is not a lot of long term follow up here in Haiti, makes it a little more difficult. I think most of us here on the team certainly will miss Haiti in spite of the destruction and chaos, I think we have all grown to like it here a lot. And we were all talking earlier about the fact that many of us could see ourselves coming back at some point in the future, either for follow up relief work or employee medical missions in the future. As I have been on this trip I certainly think this is something I would like to pursue in the future. So we’ll just have to see what happens with that, hopefully there will be some avenues and some contacts that we have made down here that will allow this to happen. At this point we will be doing some general surgery type stuff here at the compound tomorrow as well as packing up for our flight out on Friday. So we will have more to say tomorrow and I will leave you with one little note here, that being able to see the stars here in Haiti is something like I’ve never been able to see before…
Wednesday, February 10, 2010 4:41 PM
It's 4:30 on Wednesday afternoon and I have just awakened from a nice afternoon nap. We had an interesting thing happened this morning, where a patient came into the compound where we are today with a machete injury to his left thumb. The patient was a 6 year old boy and I'm not sure that I got the complete story, but the important part was to the machete had hit his left thumb and opened the thumb at the joint all the way down to where you could see the bone actually fractured small portions of bone, from two of his, both sides of his joint. We happened to be doing some small general surgery cases at the time and therefore our anesthesia doctors were able to put the child asleep and Derek and I were able to wash out the injury and repair the injured tendon as well as to place some back to its rightful position. This was probably our most important case of the case as if we had not been here it would be difficult to say what would have happened to the child’s thumb. This was definitely something that as a team we all felt that we were put in the right place for today. I have taken a nap because here sleeping is very difficult beds are small and uncomfortable as well as rosters crowing, dogs howling, as well as air planes going over head. Most of the team has not gotten much sleep at all, not to mention the mosquitoes. Tonight we may pack up a little bit and prepare for the last day of work here at the compound tomorrow.
10 o'clock on Wednesday morning. We are here at our compound and we just completed a small hernia repair that our general surgeon did. We have two more small surgeries set up for him today. Essentially lumps and bumps type stuff. This afternoon some of us may go back to the hospital depending on the transportation that we have and what else is going on around here. I mentioned last night that I would talk a little bit about to the whole organization of the hospital system in this country. The hospital that we are working at, we found out yesterday, is wealthiest hospital in all of Haiti. People go there that are rich enough to afford the best medical care in Haiti but still do not have enough monet to go to the United States for treatment. We have met two of the Haitian orthopedic surgeons who work there and they seem like extremely nice people. However, the hospital administrator and others are starting to wonder when they're going to get paid for their services. In fact on Sunday, other physicians who use that hospital for work came to the hospital to gather supplies for their private clinic, where their patients are still able to pay them. This is very disturbing has multiple organizations have been very generous with the supplies donated to our team and to the hospital, and to see private physicians in the community coming and gathering supplies only to turn around and sell them to their paying patients is an example of why the medical structure construction, and the structure of this country in general, is so slow to catch up with the rest of the world. This also gives a greater picture of why the organization here and the governmental structure does seem so backwards. Anyway, we'll have more later on.
9:45 on Tuesday evening. Again, just sitting around talking about our day, relaxing here at the compound. Derrick and I did a fair amount of surgery today. Today we were in the room which is a room that was designated for dressing changes under anesthesia and things of that nature. Derrick and I did 3 skin grafts for wounds as well as a couple other cleanouts of patients that have multiple wounds. I felt like we did some good today as we were able to cover 3 patients wounds with fresh skin grafts, which should help them to heal. It's amazing to see how many people have sustained some type of soft tissue wounds because of concrete falling on them; more than I would have ever thought. Most of the wounds superficial and simply need some good wound care to keep them clean and hopefully heal.
A few of the things that I haven't really talked about here, is just life in general in a Haiti. The traffic is one thing that takes quite a bit to get used to as well as the driving. It is nothing like that you've ever seen before. There are no lane markers and on each road there may be 3 cars going in the same direction before having to all get back in the same lane, because of an oncoming car in the opposite lane. A simple tap tap on the horn lets cars know that somebody's along side of them and that they should move over. It's not uncommon for cars to go into the left lane, right lane or up on the sidewalk to go around a slower moving vehicle. In addition to this, there are motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrian that are all over and there have been numerous close calls. There is certainly a reason why Haiti has the highest number of motor vehicle fatalities as well as pedestrian fatalities of any country, at least in the western hemisphere, so we are told. We also each day, with our commutes to from the hospital, get a little less nervous as our drivers are very good and very adept at Haitian driving laws which is kind of a misnomer. ...Continued 9:49 PM Another thing that I haven't talked about is the food here at the compound. We are extremely grateful that the sisters cook our meals for us, of which at this point we get breakfast and dinner as we are usually at the hospital during the day for lunch, of which there is really nothing. We exist on protein bars, crackers, and whatever else we can scrounge up as well as bottled water at the hospital. Although we are, like I said very grateful for the sisters cooking us our food, we are getting a little worn out on rice and pasta. There is usually very little meat of any kind and occasionally there are beans. We also have crackers, bread, a little milk, a little bit of orange juice, as well more and more bottled water. For this reason our security guards have taken us out to a local pizza restaurant every couple nights to get us come pizza and Prestige, which is the local beer, which is actually relatively good. We do get to have fried plantains here every once in awhile, which is a welcome treat as this is something that I very much enjoy.
I was talking to one of the translators at the hospital today, which are often times high school or college students who have learned English very well. This one particular translated named Samuel, who I've been working with a lot, as every time I go into the courtyard he calls out Dr. Josh and wants to see what I'm up to. Today he asked me how he might go about trying to attend college in the United States, as he said his country really has nothing to offer him anymore. I told him this is a very difficult thing for me to be able to help him with, but that the best way to do it would be a start on the internet. to which he replied, but there is no internet here. If anyone reading this is aware of any ways of students getting more information about attending college here in America, I certainly would be open to it. I did tell him that there are certainly possibilities and ways and that as long as he is diligent and continues to search them out, he certainly will find them. There are many such stories like Samuel's, including many of our translators. ...Continued 9:53 PM
Continuing on Tuesday. Just before, I was talking about the translators and all the young people that we have met wishing to come to America and it does remind me of the opportunity that America presents and how really lucky we are to have a lifestyle that we have. I know that sounds like a bit of a cliche, but being in a place like this certainly make you appreciate the opportunities that America presents for all people.
One of the difficult things that we did today was left the hospital, likely for the last time here. It's amazing how close you can get to other people that you did not know 2 weeks ago and that you like we will never work with again In an environment like the operating room, there is very much a sense of family which develops very quickly and we certainly were very sad to see everybody depart their separate ways today. I'm sorry that I just used the word 'certainly' again as I know that I said I wouldn't do this. I will talk more tomorrow about some of the things we have noticed about the discrepancy between the very rich in very poor here in Haiti, as over the past few days, it has become very evident at the hospital that we are at. I would also again, just like to say that I've been able to read a few of the comments that people have posted and I can't tell you how much it means to me to have people, most of whom I don't really know that will, that follow the blog and to be interested in the story down here. I would just like to say that while I very much appreciate the comments, keep in mind that there lots people here, all of whom are doing their best to help the people. Certainly the prayers and support I have needed for not just me but all of the workers down here as well as the Haitian people themselves. I'd also like to say to Savannah and Hayden specifically, thank you so much for your comments and I can't wait to see you guys soon, in addition to Jonah and Elena and Kari, my family, I love you very much and it is getting closer to when I will get to see you all again. Have a good night and we'll talk to you on Thursday.
About 3:30 here and we are bittersweet about leaving this afternoon as we in all likelihood, will not be back here the two few days before we leave. We have a number of general surgeries to perform at our compound that we've collected through the week, that Dr. Trey will be performing over the next 2 days, therefore our team will most likely need to stay back at the compound. It's been a difficult week and a half here at the hospital but we've already made a lot of friends, share it a lot of contact information, and we're all sad to see each other go, as it has really been a pleasure working with everybody here, both the American doctors as well as some of the patients that we've come to know over the past week. We will have more to talk about later and that'll do.
It is 10:15 on Monday evening, and we're about to retire for the night. I'm feeling a fair amount better after my frustrating day today. Having gotten back and had some chance to relax and reflect, certainly the experiences of the last few days have become more frustrating but we also realize that the care that we are providing down here is something that is still very beneficial to these people. It also helps to talk to my wife every evening and this also always makes me feel better as well. She also told me that I use the word 'certainly' al lot in the blog and after reading through it, I certainly realize that I do. My goal for the next 2 days, I'll try to limit the use of the word 'certainly'. I'd also like to say a few words about the nurses here. Being being married to a nurse, I certainly respect and admirer what they do, and that is the same here. The nurses here that are taking care of the patients out in the courtyard and in the tents, as well as working up in the operating room, are working harder than any of us. Nursing in general is such a difficult job as it is, but throw into the fact that there is a horrible charting system, patients are intense and all work has to be done through a translator. The pharmacy, while well stocked with medicines, does not have a pharmacist running it, and the nurses are left to go get the medicines themselves to give, including antibiotics, pain medicine, and IV fluids. I respect so much the job that the nurses down here are doing and I would say at this point while the need for doctors, orthopedic surgeons in particular, still has a need, there is a much greater need for nurses as well as physical staff patient therapists. So I would encourage anyone who reads this to I thank they're nurses and the other care providers if they ever come in contact with them and encourage them. Something like this would be very beneficial to us all. I also want to say that quickly that I'd don't have many photos of patients here in the blog because I'm a little bit uncertain as to how that works. ... Continuted @ 10:21 PM
Continuing on about the lack of photos of individual patients. Our concerns are that when they see us taking photographs of patients, I myself, am afraid that people are going to think that I'm exploiting them, or otherwise using their pictures for personal gain. This is not something that I in the slightest bit want to convey. So in the next day or two I will try and find some of the patients I've had more contact with and, with their permission, ask if I can share their photos with my friends and family back home, to get a sense if how truly appreciative the people in Haiti are, as well as how we appreciate their trust in us and in general their very gracious attitude. We have two more days of work planed at the hospital. We'll do our best to continue doing what we're doing. A few specific stories from today. We did have a patient that we had been planning to fix the end of their thigh bone or their distal femur. At this point we're dealing with one x-ray that was taken 4 or5 days ago, because x-ray's are at a premium here. As has been the story with a lot of the doctors that we have worked with, as well as our own team, once this gentleman was taken after surgery today, we found that his fracture was much more complex than has 1 x-ray view showed, and of course we did not have the proper implants, or the ability to plan preoperatively as we would back at home. For this reason, this case today made it especially frustrating. The level of care that we could not provide him that we wish we could have. Every fracture here is very complex, as I mentioned previously, and where these patients would normally get ct scans, perhaps other studies, and specialized implants, that just does not exist here. We trudge along doing the best we can. I hope everyone has a good night and we will talk some more tomorrow, that's all bye bye.
Continuing on Monday afternoon. I think one of the things that is difficult is that surgeons, by nature, worry a lot. At least I do. I worry that the cast will cause pressure sores, I worry that surgical incision we'll get infected, I worry that bones will not heal in their proper position, and here, the frustration is that I will not be around in a month to make sure that none of this happens. We as surgeons and doctors in general are used to having a very high level of control and not having the ability to have that controlled down here is what is getting to us. The shear number of people that need to be treated and the complexity of their injuries makes it so challenging that, just to go downstairs to get a box of supplies for the OR, causes you to get stopped by multiple doctors to look at x-rays, multiple translators to say, hey, this patient needs something, as well as family members of patients that end up seeing you in the tents that recognize you as a doctor saying, please come in here, grabbing your arm. There's just too much to do at any one time. We certainly don't want to be thought of as rude but sometimes we just have to say, we can't help you right now, and have to continue doing what we're doing. Otherwise we will not get anything done. The fractures at this point are really not very amenable to be fixed, which is another point of frustration. We will continue to keep on trucking as my mentor Dr. Hairing used to say, but please keep all the people in Haiti in your prayers continually as, even once we leave and new doctors come and go, they will require the support for a long long time. Thank you very much.
Monday, February 8, 2010, 3:09 PM
It is about 1:30 in the afternoon and I think most of us have just about hit our breaking point of frustration today. Every single aspects of patient treatment takes so long to do, whether it's a task, a surgery, or even a simple dressing change; simply to locate supplies, locate some pain medicine, as well as doing this all through a translator. While we know people are appreciative of our care, it's become apparent to us, particular myself this afternoon, that we are simply trying to provide a level of care that we are unable to provide down here, given the situation and the supplies. For this reason, it's extremely frustrating, and today, certainly the energy of last week has quickly left us. I came down here emotionally prepared to deal with terrific injuries and destitute people, however, while I have not seen that, the level of frustration of the care we are giving now is a different type of emotional frustration. I've become very angry today as to not be able to provide a level of care that we all are used to providing. We will continue to pray for these people that we are taking care of, that their casts don't cause them pressure sores and that their surgeries don't get infected. I'll ask all of you to pray the same as we certainly will need God to intervene on our behalf for the things that we can't do down here that He can do only through Himself. We will see you later.
Here we go again, it's Monday morning, we're packing to leave hospital again. We were able to watch the Super Bowl last night, courtesy of our security guards, who took us to a beautiful restaurant and bar up in the mountains.This was a welcome break from what we've been doing and there was quite a crowd there watching the game on multiple TVs. We certainly were surprised to see New Orleans pull it out over Peyton Manning, but essentially we think this is a good thing for New Orleans and certainly Peyton will be back again. Not having been at the hospital yesterday, we're not quite sure what that is scheduled for today as far as surgeries, but we know there are plenty of dressing changes to make, and as always, we'll find out if they're more people and teens that show up. We continue to take supplies down each day as we go and while this sends out our massive supplies here at the compound, it does make quite a confusing scene at the hospital. We plan on working at least 3 more days at the hospital, until at least Wednesday, and we'll see what happens on Thursday as we have a few surgical cases here at the compound for our general surgeon. I will be talking today to reporter from the Courier Journal as well as Public Radio incase anybody is interested. There should be some things on that as well.That's it for now and we will I have more later.
Good morning it's Sunday at about 11 AM. Today most of us have taken a day of rest from the hospital. A few of our team went down to the hospital today to do some general surgery cases and 4 of us have stayed back to start cleaning up the compound Father Joe who is in charge has asked us to start moving boxes as he's going to have some more men in here tomorrow to start repairing the structural damage. This is a nice break for us as we need to recharge for another week at the hospital. We plan on staying down there until at least Wednesday, possibly Thursday, before coming back on Friday. It's another beautiful sunny day here and we are working hard moving boxes. We're look forward to watching some football tonight if we get the chance. I hope everyone's doing well and we'll talk soon.
It is about 10:30 PM here in Haiti and we are just about to turn in for the night. A couple of things I would like to relay. Again, first of all, is all of the comments that everybody has been leaving have been very kind and really mean a lot to all of us here. I've been sharing them with the other members of the team and it is really special to know that so many people are following this blog and the blog of the other team members from Le Bonheur Hospital in Memphis. It's really neat to see that everybody is offering so many words of encouragement and clearly so many people’s Christian faith has been evident in their comments, and that really is appreciated. Certainly God has worked a lot of miracles in all of our lives and it's nice to see that people understand that. So thank you for all of those and also for the support of Kari and Jonah and Elaina back home. I know so many of you have been so supportive and helpful with them.
In the midst of what we're doing here it's nice to have some lighter moments and one of those I'd like to share is something that we've been calling the trick chair. This is a chair that is a wooden chair, somewhat like a kitchen table chair that has a very bad back on it. So what we do every day is we put the back on to the chair very loosely to await somebody who will forget that that chair is bad and sit in it, only to see the back fall out and see that person fall. Although not too bad, but nonetheless, it is certainly a lighter moment for us. In addition, I would like to tell all of the OR nurses at Kosair that when I get back I will likely not complain about not having any instruments or any other things for my cases, as for every case we do here, we have to individually sterilize every single piece of equipment that we might need for a case. While this does get somewhat frustrating and challenging, it certainly gives all of us a new appreciation for all the work that the nurses in the operating room do for us on a daily basis. I will do my best to not have any problems with anything that I get back home for any of my cases. We've certainly learned to make do with minimal amounts of equipment.
Saturday evening here after I returned from the hospital. Same as always, another busy day, but felt like we did some good today. Derrick and I did a couple of but sediatric surgeries, including a femur fracture in a 12 year old and another fracture in an 8 year old which was related to the earthquake. The older girls femur fracture actually happened yesterday, which is a reminder that life goes on here and injuries continue to keep coming into the emergency room that are not earthquake related. Unfortunately today we did talk with a doctor from Haiti which necessitated an aputation. It was the gentleman who sustained a severe open fracture to his tibia, and had an attempted plastic surgery to repair the soft issues that were injured, this was unfortunately unsuccessful. The rule here is that the one Haitian orthopedic surgeons has to evaluate the patient and discuss it with the patient, and be part of the surgery. Certainly while this was the right thing to do for this young woman today, it was difficult for the surgeon to perform the procedure. I'm thankful that it I did not have to me. The doctors are getting along great, including a great team of docs and nurses from Knoxville as well as the addition of nurses and physical therapist that work outside. With so many working so close together in a stressful environment, seeing everybody getting along so well is very encouraging. I'll talk more later.
We had a 2 hour and 30 minute drive from the hospital tonight. Traffic was exceptionally busy tonight for some reason. Probably being Friday night, but also likely because the president of Haiti was somewhere along out route, perhaps around the UN compound was the rumor. We're all very tired of this point, both because of the long drive and another a busy day at the hospital, however, we were encouraged by a number of new faces showing up, namely some new OR nurses, nurses for outpatient events, as well as a physical therapist, all of whom help as desperately needed from them. They were able to get the patients up and out of their tents to do some walking around and I'm sure that this was helpful for the patients as well as helpful for treatment of their injuries. We're very grateful to all the nurses and other ancillary staff that are working at the hospital with us and, as usual there's no way that any one of us could do any of this alone by any means. That being said, I have been able to read some of the comments that you have posted on the blog and I can't tell you how much this means to our team, as well as the fact that people are actually interested in what I have to say which is a nice change. We will have more likely tomorrow. There's too much to say in short blog posts, but certainly will be happy to post a final blog later next week when I get back to really go into a little more detail on the things we're seeing. Hope everyone has a very good night God bless.
This is Friday afternoon, just leaving the hospital. Another long, but good day, here at the hospital. At this point what we're seeing now is mostly dressing changes and soft tissue wounds. We are really making some connections with our patients, now that we've gotten to know them for the last 2 or 3 days. It's amazing how much they smile and how much they seem to appreciate everything that everybody is doing for them. Not just us but the family members, nurses, and other people. We'll talk later.
This is Josh Meier on Friday around 11 AM back here at the hospital. To call this place a zoo would really not fit because a zoo has signs the direct you to where the attractions are, has enclosures, and is otherwise really much more organized than we are here. More surgeons from Knoxville showed up today. We are still continuing to get old fractures as well as new ones. Haitians are out in the tents outside, in the hallways, and flag us down for orthopedic consults. Anyway, that being said, although its frustrating, we definitely feel like we are needed hear and definitely are hoping that our team is doing some good. The system is being helped now in the OR by some orthopedic nurses as well as the nurses outside whose care is greatly appreciate it. The need for nurses, physical therapist, and other providers at this point really outweighs any need for surgeons as these patients have no way to get up out of bed or be mobilized. I will send more this afternoon once things calm down a little.
It is Thursday evening at around 10. My previous blog post said Wednesday afternoon, when in fact it was Thursday afternoon, which is today; it's some what difficult to keep the dates straight, because for once we don't have calendar or clocks, which is actually kind of nice. We had another busy day of surgery today at Sacred Heart Hospital. We are continuing to manage orthopedic injuries that still remain from the earthquake, as well as complex wounds, which we are grateful to have the services of a few plastic surgeons. Here now, the need for acute orthopedic surgery is much less, as most injuries that occurred in the earthquake are now about 3 weeks from the injury, which makes fractures relatively difficult to fix. In addition, many of the fractures were either crash injuries, or at minimum open wounds, and these have started to become infected. Right now I would say that there is at least as great a need, if not greater, for more plastic and reconstructive surgeons to try and manage some of these complex wounds with different types of procedures. As the days go by the need for acute orthopedic surgery will be less and less, as in another week or so fractures will simply add be to healed and too far along to fix adequately, and therefore many more will be likely left in the position that they have started to heal in. At this point today our General Pediatric Surgeon from Memphis, Dr. Trey Eubanks, is basically the person essentially in charge of the operating rooms and our treatment of the patients at the hospital; at least on the American side. There is also a side French and we are trying our best to work with them as much as we can; however, there apparently is a clear delineation between the French tents and the American. However, we continue to smile as much as we can and say hello with everybody we come in contact to, which seems to make a difference to the patient. At least I hope.
Blog entry for Wednesday early afternoon. We are here at Sacred Heart Hospital with much more work for us to do today. So far we have fixed a few legs and done some soft tissue management of open wounds that have been beginning to become infected. The situation outside the hospital in the parking lot, which is where the inpatient area is, in the tents, is very chaotic. Multiple surgeons are in and out, here for a few days, gone the next. It is very difficult to keep track of which patients had which surgeries. We do our best to keep up by writing information on their dressings and on the limited paper that they have for their charts. We still are in a lot of need for nursing care in addition to things like rehab and soft tissue management with plastic surgeons. One of the problems here is that no one is able to take ownership of any patients or take personal responsibility for their treatment because they're only here for a limited amount of time. We are in the same position. While challenging, it is rewarding, as each patient that we treat we feel like we have done the best we can and should allow them to return to a relatively normal level of function. Our translators that are with us work extremely hard and we're very grateful for all their help. We have some more work to do this afternoon and then I will keep you updated later on. To Jonah and Elena, I love you guys and I hope that you're doing great and I hope you enjoy watching Super Bowl. I'll see you later.
This is a post from Wednesday evening. We had a very successful day today; we went downtown to Sacred Heart Hospital which is right downtown in Port au Prince. Since the earthquake the hospital has opened its doors to everybody. The person that is running the hospital now is an orthopedic trauma surgeon from Colorado. We were very welcomed today as they were many orthopedic cases; this is a welcome change from what we had been doing. Today alone we were able to address a 12 year old with a very challenging forum fracture which we hope that we improved, and certainly feel that we did. We also took part in cases involving some hand fractures as well and tomorrow have essentially a full day of orthopedic surgeries including a femur fracture in a kid as well as number of adult’s injuries. The hospital does have one Haitian orthopedic surgeon that is working there and assisting us, and we are guests in his hospital. We are very excited with the challenges that were before us today and feel that this is a place that we can do a lot of good for the next coming week and a half that we are here. We are very excited to finally be able to put or surgical skills to use to help continuing victims of the earthquake, many of whom, even though it is 3 weeks since the event, are being seen at the hospital for the first time. In addition, there are many people that have had initial orthopedic surgery that are coming back for their first follow up and either need revision care or wound management. This should prove to be very trying, but certainly is what we came down here to do. I will leave another post shortly.
... Continued @ 9:15 PM
We were interested to learn come of the new rules that have been set up at this hospital. The initial orthopedic surgeons after the quake did a number of amputations for open fractures. While we were not there, and certainly would not judge their care, the Haitian people have started to go into the countryside essentially, in the words of the Haitian doctor who's running our hospital, to escape the foreign doctors who are cutting off limbs. This certainly is challenging for us as today when we had a number of cases, we had to first address the question through interpreters of amputation versus limb salvage. We personally as the team today, in talking to the father of this 12 year old girl who we fixed her fore arm, stressed repeatedly that we were going to try to save her arm rather than amputate it. The smile on his face was clearly communication enough that he understood what we were trying to do and I was very grateful. However, certainly it appears that the aggressiveness of some of the surgeons before us is now coming back in the form of infected amputations as well as a general mistrust of international an American orthopedic care, which is somewhat disturbing. Again, as I said we were not here at the time of the initial triage and management of these acutely wounded patients and I would never be in a position to judge their care, but it is unfortunate, even if amputations were necessary, that this the belief in this community. For this reason now, the rule is at Sacred Heart Hospital that for in order for an amputation to take place, there has to be a conference with agreement and written notes by at least two physicians, including the Haitian doctor on staff. I believe this is an excellent rule and will certainly decreases the number hopefully of have any further amputations that may or may not be necessary.
It is now Tuesday evening, around 10 PM. By now you know it's me. We got some exciting news from one of the sisters whose been working at a hospital near our compound that is in desperate need of orthopedic help. Two of their orthopedic surgeons that have been working there for the past week are leaving town tomorrow and we've been told that we can have two operating rooms to take care of orthopedic patients, of which apparently there still are a fair amount. We will be packing up our surgical team here, taking a days worth of O.R. supplies, and going down to Sacred Heart Hospital where, apparently there is some work for us to do. It's still taking some time to process our drive downtown today, certainly here at the compound, about 40 minutes out from the city and relatively far removed from the downtown area.
There are not a lot of neighborhoods or dwellings out this far and certainly not anything like downtown Port au Prince. Definitely some images that will be with us for awhile. As much help that can realistically get here, periods of logistics of this operation clearly are impossible to really comprehend. As one of our people put it when we drove downtown, which stone do you pick up first. That seems to be a big problem. The U.N. meets daily in the afternoons to try and discuss how to improve the situation, but since so much of the local government was actually killed in the earthquake and then a fair amount of them lost their homes, the government really has not been able to even come close to start thinking about plans to clean, much less to build. There's a lot of concern now to about the hurricane season, which would be coming in the next month or two, right about the time when most of the aid will probably start pulling back. Nonetheless, we're happy we're here, we're otherwise doing well ,and we're excited.
Continuing again Tuesday afternoon. The amount of devastation and essentially the amount of concrete debris is really impossible to describe. Every building down here is made with heavy concrete and while some buildings still stands, most have some damage and a good amount of them are completely collapsed. We drove by the presidential palace as well as the governmental buildings, all of which are essentially completely destroyed. I imagine that this is probably similar to what an area during wartime might look like, but not having seen any of that, this is the closest I can describe. We will hopefully have some more updates tonight and very likely will try and be more mobile tomorrow. We are otherwise doing just fine, are very safe and again, are being well taken care by the sisters of the compound. On a positive note, I am definitely getting a very good beard going, so we'll see what becomes of that upon our return.. That's all for now.
This is a dispatch from Tuesday afternoon.We are here and in downtown Haiti next to the airport. Derek and I came down to the soccer stadium with a group from Heart to Heart International who have been been running some medical services from the main soccer stadium. This is essentially is what they're calling ground zero as far as earthquake victims and survivors. There's a large tent city that's been set up on the playing surface and the two people that we drove down here with this afternoon have been telling us that they've been seeing a lot of wounds and fractures still coming through as well as some people in need of some post operative orthopedic care from a few weeks ago.
We are considering setting up a mobile unit to come down to the stadium tomorrow to see if we can't be of some help and take care of some of these problems either with local wound care or perhaps surgery. So far they have a few tarps on some polls, so this wouldn't be an ideal operating room, but we may be able to bring a tent.
We did our first surgical procedure this morning with the general surgeon on a woman who had ovarian cyst. She just happened to come into the clinic yesterday and certainly with the type of care that's available now in Haiti, which is basically zero, she likely would have died at some point in the next few months or so. Because the size of the cyst was enormous, we took it out safely under anesthesia and she should do very well.
We are again, frustrated by the relative proximity of our clinic being too far away to see any kind of major wounds or trauma and instead are seeing the same kind of patients that they've been seeing in the past, with essentially dehydration and stomach aches. The surgical team here feels that our talents would be better served elsewhere, this is the reason why we are actively seeking out places where we can help with surgery. There are few options I will be talking about this evening. Our trip through downtown took us to essentially the areas that everybody has by now seen on TV and we are so overwhelmed by the amount of complete devastation on top of complete poverty. It's very hard to imagine and really hard to describe.
Tuesday morning in Haiti. We have a long line of patients up again to see us today. Apparently there's about twice as many as there were yesterday. We saw about 100 yesterday and have a feeling that many of these are going to be similar complaints of hunger and dehydration. I will be looking for a patient that we had said come back for surgery on her abdominal today, we'll see if she shows up. We'll also find out if our main messages to those working closer to town that we can take some orthopedic patients, if these message can result in the transport of patients here. Otherwise it's very warm, and well, I would say pretty, but that's just because we can't see what's going on in the rest of the country. There are lots of mountains and lots of trees. We'll talk more later.
Monday evening from Haiti, this is Joshua Meier. We did our first surgical case this evening. There was a woman that was brought in from the outlying villages that had sustained some grease burns to one of her breasts the day of the earthquake. She was cooking and grease had splattered on to her. The general surgeon that is with us took her and did some debrevment of her infected burns. She is now resting very comfortably here in our post-operative tent and really did quite well. This was a great test of our operative capability and the fact that she was 6 months pregnant made it a little more interesting for our anesthesia doctors, but everything came out very well.
Today was somewhat frustrating in that we saw a lot of headaches, belly pains and other medical conditions. Most of them were secondary to dehydration and the fact that most of these people have not eaten in many days. So it was frustrating to not have a lot of options for them. However, the sisters here at the compound are able to provide them nutrition as well as some of the U.N. and Red Cross members that are able to distribute some food and water. We're actively searching out more orthopedic surgery cases as we have heard from some other hospitals closer to downtown that there are still multiple patients that need orthopedic intervention. We hope to start bring them here as early as tomorrow. It likely will be a few days before we can really get the word out that we have operative capability and a great deal of supplies.
We are being very well cared for here and it is clear that there are a lot of people praying for us as the conditions here are very isolated from the devastation. We are feeling very well protected and we know that this is because of the prayers and support of all those back home. We will have more tomorrow and I will leave you with saying that I've done two pregnancy tests today which is more than I've done in the last 10 years. See you tomorrow. -J
This is Josh Meier with a dispatch from Haiti on Monday, February 1st. Today we began seeing patients in our clinic. We are seeing a handful of minor wounds from earthquake debris, but most of the patients we've been seeing today have other medical problems such as dehydration and infections. I'm treating ear infections and such.
It's been a little frustrating on the surgical side as we have not had any surgical patients, but obviously it's early in the trip and we will be looking and actively searching out patients that we can help surgically. In the meantime, we are happy to help the medical teams with treating some of the other medical problems. We are seeing a lot of children and are doing our best to give them antibiotics as well as the sisters here at the compound that are able to help them with nutritional needs. We will hopefully have some more surgical patients to come here in the next few days as we find out where they are and how we can get them here. That's all for now.
Yes this is Josh Meier calling in a dispatch from Haiti. We made a lot of progress today with unloading our supplies. Our supplies arrived from the airport on two forty-foot trucks at 3 AM. We awoke this morning and proceeded to unload two forty-foot semi-trailers worth of equipment and supplies to help us down here. After this we are now in the process of unpacking the supplies and boxes, trying to get a functioning OR up and running as well as trying to see what we have and what we will be able to accomplish going out into the field, which likely will occur starting tomorrow. We also made contact with a group of doctors from Chile who may help us transport patients as well as the U. N. which is setting up a field base here at our soccer field.
We also have made some contacts this afternoon with a group that has been working at the main soccer stadium in downtown, which is where some of the most severe injuries have gone. They report that there are still a lot of untreated orthopedic injuries that need treatment and there may be away between their group, the group from Chile, which has ambulances, and then our group here, to perform surgery. We may be able to set this up as a mobile hospital where patients with the orthopedic injuries can come and be treated.
We have a great group of people here and we're quickly becoming close. We have been treated very well here at the compound by the sisters who've been cooking our meals and we certainly have more comforters than we expected. More to follow. Will call later. -J
We arrived in Haiti today with Federal Express plane. The airport reminded me of a war type situation with multiple helicopters being flown in and out, multiple planes, constant noise and many soldiers. We were safely taken from the airport to our compound near Port Au Prince via our security team. The compound in which we're staying is very secure and was relatively undamaged in the earthquake. We spent the afternoon cleaning up portions of the compound that were damaged by the earthquake to free up some space, moving a lot of concrete rubble. We also cleared out some storage areas to hopefully be used as operating rooms.
This evening the security team and a few members of our medical team will be going back to the airport to get our supplies that should be arriving on a flight tonight. We anticipate tomorrow that we will use these supplies to set up our clinic and hopefully be able to do some surgery as well. At that point we will likely try to get a word out to the surrounding areas that we have doctors and be ability to treat patients both medically and surgically. At this point we will see what kind of treatment we can render on the drive from the airport.
We did see a fair amount of earthquake damage although there are many buildings that are still standing, most areas have some damage and we did see our fair share of completely collapsed buildings. There were people everywhere, but it did appear that for the most part they were doing their best to have a relatively, or get back to a relatively normal existence by cooking, playing soccer period. It was not quite the complete devastation that we see on the news, however I'm sure there are areas that we did not see that may have been more severely involved. We certainly thank God that we arrived safely. -J
I wouldn't have thought the potentially longest part this part of the trip to Haiti would have been driving through an 11 hour snowstorm from Louisville to Memphis, but nonetheless, I got here safely and we are about to depart for Haiti this morning. I'm at my friend's house here in Memphis with whom I'll be going and I will be leaving for the hospital to meet up with the rest of the team shortly. Certainly don't know what yo expect going in and we have an idea of hoping to provide a lot of medical care and a little bit of infrastructure support to the clinic that's there now. Certainly a lot of that is up in the air. We will find out when we get there what the situation is on the ground and move accordingly from there. Certainly. I hope to be able to post more dispatches from onsite, but should I not be able to, I certainly will give a full report when I get back. Thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers and we will hopefully talk again soon. Thanks. -J
Got to Memphis about 10:30 CST- wow what a tough drive. But I'm here, departure thus far on time. Will try the google voice app in the am before we leave, and hopefully further comm from there. Thanks again for all your help, will try to do Norton and Kosair proud. -J
Dr. Meier disucusses his upcoming trip and reasons for going to Haiti. He is likely one of the first, if not THE first, Louisville physicians to go to Haiti and is part of a dedicated pediatric surgical team assembled by Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis.
The 13-person medical mission team will be working at the Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis clinic, located in Croix des Bouquets near Port-au- Prince. Dr. Meier is one of only two pediatric orthopaedic surgeons on the team. The team's tentative plans are to return to the United States around Feb. 12.
Thanks to everyone who has posted comments. Your words of prayer and encouragement mean so much to our family. - Kari Meier
2/19/2010, 3:32 PM Hello Dr. Meier you do not know me but I work for KCH. I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know that I DID follow your blogs but I did not get to comment as I wanted to due to time constraints. However, you and the team were in my thoughts and prayers and I am thankful that God brought you all home safely. I believe your work in Haiti was a blessing to the needs of the people. I imagine that over the nexts few weeks/months God will reveal more as to why you were chosen to go & represent His love those who needed to know that God is still in control and cares. God bless you and your family. - NATHALIE JACKSON
2/18/2010, 10:57 PM I veiwed the video and the pictures you posted on the norton's portal, and i have to give you and your team high praises for doing what you guys have done for our neighbors in Haiti. We just don't realize how good we have it here in the United States and i don't understand why us americans take things and one another for granted the way we do at times. I'm glad to see that you guys made to Haiti and back safely. I work in Sterile Processing at Audubon Hospital and its been a pleasure chatting with you. I hope i get the chance to do my part by helping out in some way to benefit the people in Haiti. Have a Blessed Day. - James Black
2/18/2010, 5:31 PM Dr. Meir, I am an FP who will serve in Hati the month of March. I'm sure you have posted somewhere what we can expect and how to care for it??! (I'm getting nervous) In HIS Service, - John Hines MD
2/16/2010, 2:16 PM Dr. Meier, I am so glad that you are back home safe and sound. I have followed your blog since you left and I just wanted to say how much I appreciate what you have done for the people of Haiti. I had the priviledge of going to New Orleans with my church group after Hurricane Katrina devastated that area. It was probably the hardest thing I ever did but also the most rewarding. Your Christian values and morals can definitely be seen by your decision to leave your family and patients here to go abroad to help those in a time of dire need. I respect you very much. Thank you for doing the "right" thing and may God Bless you always, - Lisa Fravert, Louisville Oncology
2/15/2010, 8:32 PM Josh...glad you made it home safe. Any time you want to go to Haiti or anywhere on a mission trip just give me a call..I will bring the Prestige. You were a great fun to work with and hope to see you on March 6th. - Dr. Trey
2/15/2010, 12:48 PM Thank you again Dr. Meier for what you did. I am glad that you have made it home safely to your family and friends. God's Blessings continue to shine down on you and those whose lives you touched. - Linda Boley
2/15/2010, 8:05 AM Welcome back Dr. Meier, We all have a purpose in this life as you have shown in the work you have done to help the people in Haiti. - Patricia Thompson
2/14/2010, 10:54 AM Glad to know that you made it bac home safe. God Bless you and your family - Deshanta
2/14/2010, 10:51 AM It is such a blessing to have people like you all. My church collected money to send threw the edge outreach. God Bless you - Deshanta
2/13/2010, 11:15 AM Dr. Meiers, Thank you for all you are doing. I work Kosair outpatient surgery & have 23yrs nursing experience. How can I come down & help? Are there resources to help get me there? - Darlena Wilson RN
2/13/2010, 10:48 AM ENJOYED YOUR BLOG, AND HUMBLED, THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD AND DILIGENT SACRIFICE OF WORK! I CANNOT GO SO IT MAKES ME PROUD TO HAVE SEEN YOUR PICTURES, AND READ OF YOUR TEAMS PROGRESS. GOD BLESS! - ALEXIS STEWART
2/12/2010, 10:36 PM Dr Meier, You have been so generous in sharing your story thru your blog. Thanks for all of the hard work and dedication you have shown to the people of Haiti. We can all learn a valuable lesson from your example and thanks for being so open and honest. Be safe getting home. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you all as you journey home. - Kim
2/12/2010, 2:53 PM Thank you for the wonderful work you have done and will continue to do. It is great to get all of the updates. Be careful on your way home. - Lori
2/11/2010, 8:22 PM We are so proud of you, your co-hearts and nursing staffs from around the world. I check your blog everyday I am at work. It breaks my heart to see all that the people of Haiti have been through and still have a head of them. I keep you all in my prayers be safe and take care. - Catherine Davis
2/11/2010, 6:01 PM Dr. Meier: I have so enjoyed reading your posts, and am so thankful that that your trip has been rewarding and safe. You guys are really special to have done this. Safe travels home....... - Deve Vetter
2/11/2010, 3:15 PM Dr. Meier, All of us at Kosair are so proud of you and the work you are doing in Haiti. Keep up the good work! You are a wonderful doctor! We are looking forward to you coming home. - Erin
2/11/2010, 1:32 PM I've "certainly" appreciated you and your blog and it has made my prayers more specific for Haiti and your team. I also have loved your honesty with your feelings, frustrations as well as your gratitude. Safe travels. - Mary Burks Price, Pastoral Care
2/11/2010, 1:22 PM Just wanted you to know how interesting & enlightening your blog has been. God Bless you for all you are doing, who knows how many lives touched. My parents were missionaries in a third world country so I can imagine very well what you are seeing & experiencing, but even worse from the earthquake. I am sure you will never be the same again after this experience. Have a safe trip home. We will be praying for you & your team. -Debby Humphress
2/11/2010, 12:22 PM Dr. Meier I, like many others, have been following your 'adventures' in Haiti via your blog, you and all the others down there are definately in my prayers. Your compassinate heart for for the Haitians is evident in your reports, and makes the disaster more real than all the news media reports we view. God Bless you and all those helping hands. - Jan/NOTC
2/10/2010, 7:16 PM Hey Josh,
I am by no means an expert on student visas but I looked into the possibility of getting Samuel a visa and had no luck. The online articles I found and the US Department of State (www.state.gov) said all visas to America from Port Au Prince were temporarily closed due to the earthquake. I did find this link (www.belfet.com/events.php?e=5575) which he could use to know what documentation to have ready and where to go when the US allows visas again. If someone knows more than me, please comment and give this kid a chance at using his potential. - Mitchell Morrell
2/10/2010, 5:33 PM Dr Meier you are truely an inspiration to us all. I have been moved to tears by your blogs and I am so thankful to be able to see through your eyes what it is truely like in all the devastation. I have passed this blog onto my children so they can read your experiences. They are 11, 14, and 19. I want them to understand and I hope it will inspire them in the future. I am also going to send it to their schools. I think all the children can benefit from your experiences and hopefully realize how really blessed we are. Thank you and God bless!!! Angela Parr - Louisville Armand Hand
2/10/2010, 5:11 PM DR. MEIER, I AM A NURSE AT NORTON AUDUBON ENDOSCOPY. I HAVE ENJOYED YOUR BLOGS & PICTURES. I READ THEM EVERYDAY. YOU HAVE BEEN A GOOD REALITY CHECK FOR US ALL. WE ALL NEED TO REMEMBER HOW FORTUNATE WE ARE TO LIVE IN A COUNTRY(AMERICA) THAT ALLOWS US WHAT IS DOES. AND I'M SURE THAT THE PEOPLE OF HAITI ARE VERY APPRECIATIVE OF WHAT YOU HAVE DONE FOR THEM. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND ALSO ALL OF THOSE WITH YOU. THANK ALL OF YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE. GOD BLESS! & KEEP SAFE. - CAROL AXMAN
2/10/2010, 2:57 PM Dr Meier, I have read your notes every day since you left. I just want to tell you and your team thanks for all you do for every one down there..God bless you and your team, have a safe trip home. - Patty Bailey - Pain Management & Rehab
2/10/2010, 1:00 PM Thank you for helping my country (Haiti). May God Bless you in all you do. - James M
2/10/2010, 12:45 PM Dr. Meier, We all have you in our thoughts and prayers as well as the others in Haiti who have turned their own lives upside down to help the many there that are in need. In the OR, we miss you and look forward to seeing you again soon. If your family needs anything that we can help with, don't hesitate to let us know. Always, - Lisa Tong, Director KCH Surgery
2/9/2010, 9:07 PM Josh, Reading your comments is so helpful to all of us who are praying for you and the people of Haiti. Thank you for taking the time to call in. Jonah and Alana will learn so much from your example! Blessings, - Sylvia and Mike
2/9/2010, 9:04 PM Thank you for all the updates and pictures. Your team, your family, and Haiti remain in my prayers. - Annie Rouse
2/9/2010, 7:33 PM Dr.Meier, I would like to thank you and your team again for all the wonderful things you all do everyday. Thank's for helping these Haitians they didn't ask for this terrible event. I know things can get frustrating at times,but keep your head up and everything will be fine. -Melissa Mack - Norton Suburban Housekeeper
2/9/2010, 6:57 PM God bless you Dr. Meier. What an earth angel you are to those in desperate need. I know they are so very thankful to have you and so am I. Thank you so much for your selfless act of kindness and love. In prayer, - Janet Mahoney
2/9/2010, 4:56 PM Dr. Meier - Many thanks and prayers for the incredible sacrifice that you have made. Haiti is a better place already because of you and your companions. Don't lose faith - Fight the good fight -Come home safely and PROUDLY share your story. Phil. 4:13 - Sally Hayden
2/9/2010, 3:58 PM Dr.Meier As I sit hear reading your blog and looking at our 6+ inches of snow,don't worry it will probably still be here when you return. I wanted you to know my prayers are certainly with you & your team. Listening to your blog seems like your in your office dictating.Be safe we all miss you and are very PROUD of you here at COOL. - Suzanne
2/9/2010, 11:36 AM Dr. Meier and Team, I know this time has been frustrating and even angering. To hit a wall at every turn--language, access to patients, equipment, supplies, nursing needs, etc.--and to know you have the skills and will to help can be beyond painful. Hopelessness is that place where we can no longer imagine how goodness and healing can come into a place, and Haiti has long been a place where despair reigned supreme. The earthquake only magnified this. The reality is that you all are not going to heal and cure and fix everything, but you will stand in the gap and apply balms of kindness regardless. Hold to that even when you are frustrated. -Jacqueline Hope Derby
2/8/2010, 7:39 PM DR. MEIER, I AM SO PROUD OF ALL YOU ARE DOING. YOUR AN INSPIRATION TO US HERE AT HOME. STAY SAFE AND MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AND THE PEOPLE OF HAITI -BEA ANN REESOR
2/8/2010 7:27 PM We can't begin to imagine how difficult your work down there must be, and the frustration is understood. Try to remind yourself of all the GOOD you are providing to so many people, they are lucky to be in your care! You, Kari, Jonah, and Alana are continuously in our thoughts and prayers. -Kathleen and Shaun
2/8/2010, 7:17 PM hey its me i hope your saving a bunch of lives i promise to be careful while your gone i hope come you will be back soon i will keep you and the haiti people in my prayers another thing i would like to tell you is im very glad i have a doctor brave like you im glad you did what you did be careful - love, savannah <3
02/08/2010, 11:20 AM I am so touched by your words, photos, & actions. You are an inspiration for Kosair & everywhere. Thanks for giving so selflessly! -Kristy Greenwood
2/8/2010, 10:57 AM Savannah was a little nervous when she first found out that you were going to Haiti. "What if I need him, Mom"- was all I heard. We are so thankful for this blog. She loves being able to keep up with all the wonderful things you are doing. She is so proud and tells everyone you are her doctor. She prays for you and your team every night. Thank you Dr. Meier for all that you have done, not only for Savannah, but for taking time away from your family and patients at home to take care of those in great need. You make us proud! May God bless you and keep you! -Carol and Savannah
2/8/2010, 10:50 AM Think I'll blow this up and put in OR 6 as a reminder. Just kidding. God bless you for what you are doing. We are so proud you are our surgeon. -Lynda L Lowe
2/8/2010, 10:49 AM Dr. Meier, We are so proud of you & your willingness to serve! We continue to pray for you, your team, your family and the people of Haiti. Glad you were able to rest yesterday and watch the Superbowl. Hope your final days in Haiti are productive and we will pray for your safe return. Hadyn wanted me to tell you she loves you! Take care & God bless. -Steven, Tiffany, and Hadyn Warman
2/8/2010, 10:27 AM Your Norton family is very proud of you. We thank Kari and the kids for sharing you with the Haitian people. Be safe, and our prayers are with you. -Ginger Figg
2/8/2010, 10:07 AM I have really enjoyed your blog. It makes an unimaginable situation much more imaginable for those of us lucky enough to not have experienced any such devastation. You are doing a wonderful job taking care of those less fortunate and I am sure this will become one of the great experiences of your life. Take care and stay safe. -Andrea Carter
2/8/2010, 9:58 AM I have so enjoyed this blog. So many of us would love to go down to Haiti and help but it is not possible or advisable, so it is good to follow a Louisvillian who is out doing the work that we all are proud to see. I feel for the Haitians and what they are going through and pray that the generosity from all over the world will bring an awakening to that nation of the Spirit of the Lords at work. God Bless and we will welcome you home soon. -Terri Curtis
2/8/2010, 8:52 AM I have been so touched by your words, pictures, & actions. You & your team remain in my prayers. -Kristy Greenwood
2/8/2010, 8:46 AM Continue to read about all of the hard work you and your team are involved in. You are doing God's work and I pray that you will all be home soon; don't know who is getting more out of this--you or the Haitian people. Stay safe and keep the Faith! -Elaine Caldwell
2/8/2010, 8:18 AM Dr. Meier, We are praying for all of you to be safe and to have a safe return to us. Also how wonderful it is that God gave you all this talent and that you are willing to share it with so many people that are in need. We at Norton Preston ICC thank you for doing something that we are not able to do, but we all can pray for you and all the Haiti. We all are God children. -Mary Collins
2/8/2010, 8:09 AM I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR DECEDICATION. I THANK GOD FOR YOU AND EVERYONE ELSE THAT IS THERE HELPING OUT. IT IS TRULY A BLESSING WHEN WE ALL CAN COME TOGETHER IN TIME OF NEED. ME AND MY CHRUCH FAMILY WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU AND EVERYONE DOWN THERE. MY GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU ALWAYS! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. -Linda
02/07/2010, 5:36 PM Dr.Meier,You and your team are AWESOME! I wish I could record the Super Bowl Game for you, but I'm working 2nd shift housekeeping at Norton Suburban.Keep up the good work and God bless you. -Melissa Mack
02/07/2010, 1:31 PM Josh, Thank you for continuing to update us on your activity in Haiti and the daily reminder that there is still so much to do there. My thoughts and prayers are with you, the other doctors, nurses, and care givers as well as with the people of Haiti who have maintained such a sense of hope through their tragedy. Stay strong. Love, Aunt Nancy -Nancy Bentley
02/07/2010 8:56 AM GOD BLESS YOU ALL FOR ALL OF YOUR HARD WORK, I WISH WE COULD ALL GO LEND A HAND, BUT YOU ARE TRULY DOING GOD'S WORK! - JENNIFER ERNST AUDUBON TCU
02/07/2010, 12:59 AM God Bless you Dr. Meier and your team. our prayers are with you and all the Hatians . we are so proud of what you are doing. -From us here nurses in Norton Hospital.
02/06/2010, 10:12 PM Dr. Meier, I wanted to say thanks first of all for your selflessness in going to Haiti to help out those in need. It breaks my heart every time I see it on TV. I have waited anxiously for each of your blogs. It is very interesting and a way to feel connected to what is truly happening there. Thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us. I know you are making a difference to the people of Haiti and I am sure they are very appreciative. I think it is a remarkable, wonderful thing that you are sharing your time and talent with those that are so much in need. God bless you and keep you safe. Thanks again. - Lisa Vandygriff, Physician Liaison, KCH
2/6/2010, 1:12 AM I work the weekends 3rd in ER registration at Suburban and with Adults at Goodwill Industries teaching them to read, write and do basic math through the week. I am very proud to say that you are from Nortons. Hang in there, I can not imagine how tough things must be. I will keep you in my prayers. -Debra Howard
2/5/2010, 11:13 PM Josh,Thanks for the posts, praying for you and your team daily. -Tony Whitlow
2/5/2010, 7:17 PM Josh,We are praying for you daily. Thanks for all the updates and photos. You are doing great work! Sylvia and Mike
2/5/2010, 3:01 PM You all are remarkable - giving the gift of your hands, heart, and skills are priceless. Just thinking of you all, reminds me of a quote from one of Dr. Martin Luther King's speeches, "The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? But...the good Samaritan reversed the question: If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?". May God Bless you All! - Sandra Stroud
2/5/2010, 1:14 PM Dr. Meier, We are very proud of you and the crew! You all are in my daily prayers! The office is definitely not the same without you here... hurry home and have a safe trip!!! Tammy
2/5/2010, 11:24 PM Dr. Meier: We are filled with pride and gratitude at your devotion and dedication in helping those in such great need. I can only imagine the feeling of relief that the patients must feel when they come under your care. I will continue to pray for you and the others that God will give you the strength you need to carry on under such devastating conditions. Thank you for all you are doing. Donna
2/5/2010, 11:12 PM You ARE doing Kosair proud just by being there for the Hatians!! Anything else you do while you are in Haiti is just an added bonus! -Jessica Leary
2/5/2010, 10:32 AM God be with you Dr. Meier. Thank you for your unselfish act of helping the people of Haiti. -Linda
2/5/2010, 10:18 AM Please take great comfort and pride in what you and your team are doing. Cannot imagine what it must be like, to go from sterile very good surroundings to the depth of poverty and despair in which you are working. You give hope to not only the Haitian people but to all of us. Peace and prayers j
2/5/2010, 10:01 AM What an amazing thing you are doing; allowing God to heal people through you! I will continue to pray that you and your team are blessed and kept safe. -Katie
2/5/2010, 9:50 AM Dr Meier, You and your team have crowns waiting for you in heaven! - Patti
2/4/2010, 10:31 AM It is a wonderful thing you and your team are doing. God bless all of you! I am praying daily for your safe return. Keep up the good work. -Tia Jones-Elliott
2/4/2010, 8:04 AM Josh, We are continuing to pray for strength, favor, and wisdom. God has given you great talents and it is good that you are sharing your journey. You are an inspiration! God bless you and all that you and the team you are with are doing. -Jonna Stephens
2/3/2010, 11:05 PM Dr.Meier, I hope that everything is going well with you and your team in Haiti. It is very interesting reading your blog everyday!! I am praying for you and your family. We miss you at the office, but hope that you all are helping everyone you all can!! See you when you get back to COOL!! -Lauren
2/3/2010, 4:19 PM Dr Meier: Thanks for going and helping. I was actually there in November at Haiti Gospel Mission clinic working with April & Joel Hess the missionaries there. Its close to you sounds like, we were near Croix des Bouquets as well. I went with a my church then. Keep up the good work and God bless! -David East, RRT
2/3/2010, 4:19 PM Dr. Meier and Team, Thank you for your sacrifice. It is very encouraging to see what good is actually going on over there. Thanks for the updates, and pictures. My family will be praying for you, God Bless! -Lisa Cassell
2/3/2010, 3:54 PM YOU AND YOUR TEAM ARE A BLESSING FROM GOD. LOVE READING YOUR BLOG EVERY DAY. AND PRAYING YOU WILL SOON GET ORTHOPAEDIC PATIENTS. -MELISSA RUSH
2/3/2010, 3:44 PM Your passion to help certainly shines through your words. I will pray for how that passion shines through you healing hands. God Bless. -Susan Carey
2/3/2010, 2:35 PM I want to THANK YOU for all the hard work and dedication you are providing to the people of Hailti. I feel so much pain in my heart for them. I will continue to pray for you and the people of Haiti. Peace and Love, Anita Langford
2/3/2010, 2:24 PM Stay strong and safe and know that we are so proud of you and your surgical team. Take it day by day and with loving hearts and hands, the work will get done! You are in our prayers. Bless you and your team! Take it day by day and with loving hearts and skilled hands, the work will get done! You make us proud! Jennifer, Church and Health Ministries
2/3/2010, 2:11 PM Thank God for your ability, willingness, and compassion to help. I will be praying for everyone there that your service and everyone on your team will be able to help as many people as you can. May the Lord be with you all! -Evelyn Nesbitt
2/3/2010, 2:09 PM We are praying for you and your staff as you lend your hands out to help others in there time of need. God Bless you and be safe. -Tonita Thomas
2/3/2010, 12:14 PM Josh,God bless you and your team for going to Haiti! I will continue to pray for you and your team; for provision and protection as you serve a community so desperately in need of your help. Still praying too, for Kari, Jonah, and Alana as they proudly support you and expectantly wait for you to return. -Mary Stover
2/3/2010, 11:48 AM We are all so proud of you Dr. Meier! You, your team, and the people of Haiti are ever present in our thoughts and prayers. -Ramona Prow
2/3/2010, 11:46 AM Dear Dr. Meier: I can not thank you enough for your efforts in Haiti. Your work there reflects on the hearts of all of us here at Norton Healthcare who wish we could personally do more to assist all of our brothers and sisters in their time of need. -Donna Bothur
2/3/2010, 11:18 AM Dr. Meier Larry and I are so proud of you. We are paraying for all of you in Haiti and for your family here at home -PAULA BARNETT
2/3/2010, 11:02 AM Dr. Meier, Thank you for allowing the Lord to use your special talent in this way to help those who are in need of your services. We are continuing to pray for you and your colleagues. -Patricia L. Thompson
2/3/2010, 10:54 AM Dear Dr. Meier (Josh), I beleive you are doing a great thing going to Haiti, God works in ways we don't sometimes understand, but just need to do sometimes. I believe you are one of the special ones that the lord is working with. You have a great heart and also a great surgeon that is needed there at this time. My thought's and prayer are with all of you'll and the survivors in Haiti. -Lynn Hestla
2/3/2010, 10:53 AM Hey Dr. Meier, Yes,I should be working at this moment, however, I just finished reading your blog for yesterday. Thank you thank you for be willing to use your talent to help the Haitian people and make a difference in the lives of so many. I'm pryaing for you and for your family and all of those involved with this effort. We all miss you here at COOL, but we're so proud of you! -Sharon
2/3/2010, 10:52 AM Thank you Dr. Meier for your acts of service. -Judy Taylor
2/3/2010, 10:47 AM Dear Dr. Meier, Thanks for the updates and your orthopaedic help! I have been in Orthopaedics for 34 years and think it is awesome to have you and your team down there helping. Keep the faith and I will be praying for all of you and the Haitian people! -Elaine
2/3/2010, 10:37 AM Our prayers and thanks are with you in Haiti. Is the anything we are Norton Audubon can do to help you there? Tell Dr. Stearns hello and we are praying for him as will. Be safe and come back home when you can. -Joanne Posey
2/2/2010, 10:38 PM I am so proud of you, being so young and still finding the time to give your talents to those in need. We are sending our prayers your way. Patti Willett..Kosair Radiology
2/2/2010, 7:38 PM Josh, I am praying for you and your team daily, I ask God's hands on yours' and His spirit working through you to accomplish great things on this trip. -Tony Whitlow
2/2/2010, 2:30 AM Dear Dr. Meier (Josh), Know that you are in our prayers. I didn't know about you traveling to Haiti until after you had dparted. I announced your trip to the congregation this past Sunday and included you, and the other doctors and medical teams, in our prayers. May God continue to bless you and all serving in Haiti. We thank God and we thank you for your Christian compassion for our "neighbor". Let us know if we can help in any way.
Know that you, Kari, Jonah, and Alana are in our prayers, as well. -Pastor Boyd
2/2/2010, 2:21 PM Dear Dr. Meier: Thank you for what you are doing, sacrificing comforts of home to do your surgical/medical wonders in Haiti. I am proud to say that one of my employer's most talented surgeons is there and has his heart in the right place. -Jaclyn Johnson
2/2/2010, 11:29 AM I just wanted to say that I'm really thrilled to see Dr Meiers going to Haiti to help assit with the horrific injury's that the Haitian people have endure. Thanks again to all the doctors and nurses that do so much for these people! We love you guys! -Martha Seaver
2/2/2010, 10:25 AM Our prayers will be with you and the team. If you need water, EDGE ministries from Louisville is working with the UN and other groups to install water purification units. I hope the people needing surgery will continue to arrive at your OR. Thanks for the updates. Debbie -Debbie Klausing
2/2/2010, 10:22 AM Dr. Meier, Thank you so much for making the leap to go to Haiti and reach out to these people in need when so many of us are unable to pick up and go. This is great testimony of the love the United States and its people have for Haiti. By the way, what all doctor's are with you from Memphis? I grew up there and my father is a physician in Memphis. Glad to know Memphis is making us proud too! -Lauren Watson
2/2/2010, 10:21 AM I hope you are all well today! I'm encouraged by your team's work. I haven't been able to help financially, but I want you to know that someone is back home, sending prayers and good vibes your way! I am anxious to read your blog every day and share your experiences. I know there will be so many touched by your help. Keep up the good work! -Wendy Brady
2/2/2010, 10:07 AM Your willingness to leave the comfort of your family and professional environment here at Kosair is an inspiration to us all. Thanks for sharing the experience and the power of prayer in very difficult circumstances. Your have already done "Norton and Kosair proud"! -Vicki Barnes
2/2/2010, 8:44 AM I hope I can speak for many, that we are not only thankful for you and the team being such a huge help to all of those people - but to also take the time to keep us informed of your journey along the way. We will keep praying for you, the team, all other participants along side you - and definately all of the Haitian's. -Tammy Bales
Josh Meier, M.D., is a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon with Children's Orthopaedics of Louisville, part of Norton Orthopaedic Care; a member of the Kosair Children's Hospital medical staff; and a clinical professor with the University of Louisville Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Meier, who will leave for Haiti tomorrow (Saturday) morning, is likely one of the first, if not THE first, Louisville physicians to go to Haiti. He is part of a dedicated pediatric surgical team assembled by Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis.
The 13-person medical mission team will be working at the Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis clinic, located in Croix des Bouquets near Port-au- Prince. Dr. Meier is one of only two pediatric orthopaedic surgeons on the team. The team's tentative plans are to return to the United States around Feb. 12.