Beginning the Battle August Admits
As many of you know, on August 14th Haiti suffered a powerful 7.2 earthquake. While our properties are far enough from the epicenter to escape unscathed, our hearts are deeply burdened for those in the southwest peninsula of Haiti who experienced devastating damage. Over 2,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands more have been left homeless.
For many of us at Middle Ground, this earthquake stirred up deeply buried memories of the 2010 earthquake. We have had to be very gentle with ourselves and each other as we have navigated the personal trauma along with our ever-active roles. We’re a little shellshocked, but we are here. We are committed to providing excellent care to the children and families in our programs. This month our hearts found bits of healing with the admission of each of these 19 little warriors. We know their journeys will be long and difficult, but we believe that they will also be beautiful and redeeming.
Meet the August admissions to Middle Ground.
Our first admission of the month was a teeny tiny 6-week-old baby boy “V”. V weighed just 5lbs 13oz, despite being swollen with kwashiorkor. V is his mother’s only child and was described as “weak” from birth. It is likely that he was born at low birth weight, possibly a bit premature. He didn’t have the strength to breastfeed properly and struggled to get enough milk to grow. V’s mama Esperanta is staying with him at Middle Ground and they are getting assistance with breastfeeding so that she can continue to nourish him once they are ready to return home. V is his parent’s only child, they come from Furcy, a village about 45 minutes from our compound.
August 5th brought us our next admission, 18-month-old Mirline. Mirline had been sick for about 7 months with chronic fevers and diarrhea and was diagnosed with marasmus. She weighed 18lbs 3oz. Mirline and her mama Milouse spent 21 days in our inpatient unit before Mirline was ready to graduate to our outpatient program and continue her treatment at home. Mirline was 19lbs on the day that she transferred to outpatient and has continued to gain and thrive since then.
On the 7th of August a familiar face stood out in our yard one day. Rosemanie, mother of a former patient from 2020 was waiting to be seen by our triage nurse, she carried 3-month-old “J”. Baby J weighed 7lbs 13oz and was swollen. He was diagnosed with kwashiorkor. In addition to being seriously ill with malnutrition, J was also suffering from a very severe skin infection for 2 months. Since he was born J had only been fed diluted regular milk. He was started on F75 formula to stabilize before graduating to regular infant formula. Once he is ready to go home J will remain on our formula program until he turns 1 year old.
On August 11th we admitted 2 children. The first was 13-month-old “S”. S comes from an area deep in the mountains several hours from Middle Ground. He and his mama, Dania had been referred to us by the parent of a previous patient. On the day of his admission S weighed 16lbs 5oz and was diagnosed with moderate malnutrition. At that time he had been sick for about a week with a fever and cough. On the day before he was admitted S had a cup of milk, on the day of he had flour porridge.
Later in the same day, 15-month-old “A” arrived at Middle Ground in the arms of his mama, Maria. He weighed 15lbs 12oz and was swollen with kwashiorkor. Maria had brought A on the 8-hour journey to Middle Ground at the urging of a neighbor whose child had been treated in our programs preciously. The family’s situation had been incredibly hard for quite a while and in early July A began to lose weight and get sick. On the day that A was admitted had a cup of carrot juice, and on the day he traveled to us he had eaten nothing. A is the oldest of Maria’s 2 children.
On August 16th we were presented with a situation that used to be rare, a child over the age of 6. In years past we almost exclusively treated toddlers and very young children (the average age of a child in our programs was 3 years old). But on this day we met 12.5 years old. “W”. W is the oldest of 4 children, 1 of whom died of malnutrition. W and his mama Lorena traveled to us from an area notorious for horrible malnutrition called Bel Fontaine. On the day that he was admitted W had been sick for about a year with diarrhea and off and on swelling, he weighed 42lbs. The day before W was admitted he ate a plate of cornmeal with beans., and on the day of his admission, he had a plate of cornmeal.
On the 20th of August 10-month-old “C-E” was admitted for inpatient care. He was brought to us by his aunt, who is his main caregiver. They traveled about 30 minutes by taptap to arrive at Middle Ground. On the day of his admission C-E weighed 14lbs 13oz, he had eaten an egg that morning with a cup of milk, the day before he had a bowl of ramen. C-E was diagnosed with severe kwashiorkor. His aunt, Sophiana is staying with him throughout his treatment.
Also on August 20th, we had a readmission of one of our previous patients, 15-month-old “C” C weighed 15lbs 10oz on the day of his admission and was suffering from marasmus. His mama Mirlande is with him.
Two days later, on August 22nd we had a second readmission, 4-year-old B. B was treated for kwashiorkor at Middle Ground in 2020 and was readmitted weighing 29lbs, this time her diagnosis is severe chronic malnutrition. Her aunt is staying with her by her side.
August 23rd was a busy day, with 5 admissions. The first, 4-month-old “D” who weighed 8lbs 8oz. D was swollen from kwashiorkor. D is the youngest of his mama, Christelle’s 2 children. A neighbor of Christelle had a child treated at Middle Ground and recognized the symptoms that D was showing and urged her to bring him to us. When D was admitted he had been sick for about 3 months with a bad skin infection. The day before he made the 30-minute journey from his home in PetionVille to us at Middle Ground he had not had anything to eat. The day before he had porridge. While D’s body heals, Christelle will participate in many hours of education classes that will empower her to know how to care for her children in a way that will allow them all to thrive.
The second admission of the 23rd was 14-month-old “A”. A was referred to us by a previous volunteer, he was moderately malnourished and also had underlying medical complications. He weighed 16lbs 4oz. A is his mother, Flondise’s only child. A was treated for a little over a week at Middle Ground before it was decided that he needed a higher level of care for his underlying conditions. He was referred to a hospital in the Dominican Republic where we believe he will have access to the supplies he will need for his life-long treatment.
Patients 3, 4, and 5 of the day were siblings. 15-month-old “D” who weighed 17lbs 14oz and was suffering from kwashiorkor, 5-year-old “I” who weighed 27lbs 4oz and was diagnosed with chronic malnutrition, and 7-year-old “R” who weighed 38lbs 2oz and also had chronic malnutrition. The children came from Jacmel with their godmother, who has been their caregiver since their mother died. Their godmother, Marie-Carmel had been told about MIddle Ground by her pastor. On the day before the children were admitted, they ate spaghetti, and on the day of their admission, they had cornmeal. All 3 children were infected with intestinal parasites in addition to their severe malnutrition. Their parasite infection was treated right away, and all 3 are now stable and gaining weight well on medika mamba.
August 25 was another busy day with 3 admissions. The first of the morning was 23-month-old “D” who was diagnosed by our staff with moderate malnutrition. She had been sick with a fever and cough for about 2 weeks and weighed 17lbs 12oz. D is her mother, Sandra’s only child and they traveled just 15 minutes by taptap to reach Middle Ground, after being referred to our program by a local clinic. On the day before D was admitted she had a bowl of broth, the day of her admission she hadn’t had anything to eat until she arrived and was given milk and mamba.
The second admission of the 25th was 17-month-old “D” who was brought to Middle Ground by his mama, Adeline. D is the youngest of Adeline’s 8 children, and they live right in the same neighborhood as us. D had been sick for 22 days when Adeline brought him to be seen, when our staff weighed him they found that he was only 13lbs 5oz. He had severe marasmus (wasting) malnutrition. On the day before he was admitted D had a bowl of broth. Adeline is staying with D while also keeping in close contact with her other 7 children at home nearby.
Also on the 25th we had our 3rd readmission of the month. Up until now readmissions were very rare for us. We would normally see only a few in an entire year, but the situation in Haiti is so dire for so many families, that even with education the pure lack of resources means that kids are hungrier an d they are getting sicker. On this day it was 14 month old “J” who had been readmitted. His condition was caught fairly early and he was moderately malnourished weighing 12lbs 10oz. J’s Mama Juslene will be staying with him throughout his treatment.
The end of the month (August 26th) brought us yet another older child, 11.5-year-old “R” R came to us from downtown Port Au Prince after being sick for about 4.5 years. R is one of his mother Jocelyne’s 10 children and was diagnosed with chronic malnutrition. He weighed a shocking 36lbs 9oz. On the day before R was admitted he ate a plate of rice, on the day of his admission he had an egg with bread. R is an incredibly charismatic little boy who has a strong will to live. He fought hard to survive for many years and we believe that with the treatment he will receive at Middle Ground his physical health will soon match his gregarious personality.
Finally, on August 30 we admitted our final patient of the month, 2 year old “P”. This precious little girl had kwashiorkor and weighed 19lbs 12oz. She and her mama Benita had been told about Middle Ground by a friend who had a child treated in our inpatient unit a few years ago. P had been sick at her home in Petionville for about 3 months with chronic fevers and a cough. On the day she was admitted she had only a place of rice with bean sauce to eat. P is her mother’s only child and we are praying and fighting hard for her recovery today.
We are currently in the process of renovating our building to add an additional treatment room, space for more caregivers, and bring our bed count from 18 up to 22. Day by day it becomes clear that we can’t finish that project soon enough. Every bed we have available is needed to treat the growing, and devastating malnutrition that is plaguing the children of Haiti, and every dollar that is given to allow us to continue this work is vitally necessary to our operations.
If you feel able today, please consider giving to help us care for these kids, and the many we know will be pouring through our gates in the next few weeks. Even more importantly, please pray with us for these little ones and their caregivers as they spend time at Middle Ground.