Beginning the Battle May Admits
If we thought May was busy, June blew that out of the water. We continue to see a rapid increase in the number of patients who come to us seeking emergency treatment. This month we admitted 14 individual children, who were all suffering the life-threatening effects of marasmus, kwashiorkor or failure to thrive. We are honored to be here to provide this care, but our hearts are broken as we watch the suffering of the children in Haiti seem to explode to epic proportions. The humanitarian crisis that the citizen of Haiti are facing is daunting, and while we work round the clock to treat the emergent situations that are arising we cling to hope that in their lifetime, these children will see a revolution in their country, and watch a new Haiti rise.
We started the month out with a bang, with our first admission arriving on the 3rd. 17-month-old “R” weighed just 17lbs 5oz and was referred by the same pastor who brought us the group of 5 children last month. On the day that he was admitted R had not had anything to eat, the day before he had one plate of rice with beans. He had been sick for about 3 months when the pastor told R’s mama Katiana to bring him to Middle Ground. They traveled more than 4 hours by motorcycle to get to the center. R is his mother’s first (and only) child.
The next day 14-month-old J-R arrived at Middle Ground. J-R is from an area that is notorious for high numbers of malnutrition cases called Bel Fontaine. In certain seasons up to 75% of the patients in our inpatient until will be from this area of Haiti. J-R weighed 13lbs 4oz and was suffering from Kwashiorkor malnutrition. On the day that he was admitted J-R had milk to drink, the day before he had a plate of white rice. J-R’s mama Jesumene traveled 3 hours by car and motorcycle taxi to arrive at Middle Ground. J-R is the youngest of 6 children. A few days later, on June 8th Jesumeme mentioned that she had another child who was also sick. A family member traveled from Bel Fontaine with her 2-year-old daughter “Y”. Y had been sick off and on for almost a year and she weighed only 14lbs 12oz. She was diagnosed with failure to thrive. Y has 4 older siblings in addition to J-R.
2-year-old Stanley had been sick for 22 days when his mama, Chrismène came to Middle Ground to have him evaluated. On that day (June 7th) he weighed 17lbs 15oz and was diagnosed by our pediatrician with severe marasmus. Stanley and Chrismène traveled about 20 minutes by tap-tap to reach Middle Ground from their home just about a mile away. On the day before Stanley was admitted he had eaten plantains and bean sauce and on the day of his admission he had eaten a pate. Stanley is the youngest of Chrismène’s 4 children. A few days later Stanley’s 6-year-old brother Mayson was also admitted into our inpatient unit. Mayson was not only malnourished but also suffering from a heart defect. At 6 years old Mayson weighed 30lbs 7oz. Both Stanley and Mayson made remarkable progress and were able to transfer from our inpatient unit to outpatient treatment within just a few weeks. They will continue on our outpatient treatment program until they have fully recovered.
On June 8th 18-month-old “K” was brought to Middle Ground by her mother Immacula. Immacula’s neighbor had attended one of our community advocacy training groups and recognized the symptoms in little K, she urged Immacula to bring her for a consultation. On that morning K had not eaten anything, on the day before she had a bowl of porridge. K weighed 16lbs 1oz that day. To get to Middle Ground Immacula and K traveled 2 hours by tap-tap and motorcycle taxi. K is the only child of her parents.
June 9th brought us a 20-month-old baby girl, “W” W had been sick for 3 months with a fever and cough. On the day that she was admitted she weighed 17lbs, that day she had eaten come plantains with bean sauce at home before leaving for the 4-hour journey by tap-tap to arrive at the center. W is her parent’s only child. Her mama Nathacha is staying with her during treatment.
On June 15th, 16-month-old “K”, who had traveled 1.5 hours from his home in Port Au Prince with his father Lamy, arrived. K is his parent’s only child and had been sick for about one month before one of his neighbors (who had been trained as a community advocate through our program) recognized his symptoms and told his family to bring him to Middle Ground. The day K arrived he weighed 16lbs 1oz and had eaten mango and banana, the day before he had a plate of spaghetti.
June 17th was a particularly busy day, with 3 kids admitted. The first of the morning was 7-month-old Samio, who was brought to Middle Ground by his mother. They lived only a few miles from the center and had been referred by one of their neighbors who noticed Samio had begun to swell and urged his mother, Yvonne to seek help. Samio was severely swollen with kwashiorkor when he arrived and despite the incredible effort of our medical staff he passed away from complications of Malnutrition just a few days after he was admitted for treatment.
The second child to be admitted on the 17th was 11-year-old “P”. P is from an area more than 8 hours from Middle Ground and was referred to us by one of our partner clinics in a village called Baie d’Orange. When P was seen at his local clinic he was so ill that the nurse there determined he couldn’t withstand traveling to us by vehicle and instead he was flown by air ambulance for treatment. On the day that he arrived P weighed a shocking 28lbs, the same as a healthy toddler. He was so weak he couldn’t even walk and had to be carried by his mother. Within just a few days of his admission, after speaking with his mother Celita our staff determined that P’s 9-year-old sister at home should also be seen. She traveled nearly 9 hours by moto and taptap to arrive at our gates on June 22nd. When “M” was admitted she weighed 37lbs 13oz. Celita is staying by the bedside of her children while they heal at Middle Ground.
The last child admitted for the day on June 17th was 10-month-old “E-L”. E-L was referred to Middle Ground by a neighbor who noticed that he was showing symptoms of malnutrition. E-L and his mother traveled less than 10 minutes by motorcycle taxi from their home to Middle Ground. On the day that he was admitted E-L had drunk a bottle of milk, he weighed 10lbs 11oz. E-L has one older sibling at home.
On June 23rd 1-month-old “A” was brought to Middle Ground by his mother Adeline. He was very small for his age, weighing just 7lbs 8oz. Initial lab reports showed that he was also severely anemic. A struggled to breastfeed so in the days before he was admitted he was given a mixture of diluted formula and baby food. A and Adeline will spend a few weeks with us learning to breastfeed and taking in all that our caregiver education classes have to offer.
Our final admission of the month was a precious 2.5-year-old little girl, “J”. J’s mother passed from an illness, and about a month later little J began to get sick. She was vomiting and losing weight so her caregiver (a cousin) brought her to their local hospital, who referred her to our programs. Stephanie and J traveled about 3 hours by motorcycle and taptap to arrive at Middle Ground. When they arrived Stephanie told our staff that J had had a cup of milk that morning, the day before she had some soup. J weighed 14lbs, and was diagnosed with severe malnutrition, and began treatment with F75 therapeutic milk. Stephanie has 3 children at home in addition to baby J.
Our beds are full.
Our hearts break for the suffering we are witnessing and the dramatic increase we have seen in children requiring our services in the past few weeks. We cannot fix this crisis but we can remain strong and steadfast, doing our little part to ease the suffering in our little corner on the map. Please pray with us for these children and their families.