FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Making the Effort to Live in Cité Soleil

by Dr. JOHN CARROLL

Port-au-Prince.

We won’t be able to go to Soleil tomorrow.  Too much shooting. Gangs against gangs and then the police come and shoot too. My driver Djongo does not play. He grew up in Soleil.

But this morning I creep into Drouillard on the outskirts of Soleil to check a patient named Daniel. A cement maze of corridors. Up a stairway to where? A cell phone light shows me Daniel’s face. We hug. Daniel’s mitral valve is squeaky and he is thin. He can’t breathe in this dark room. His bioprosthetic valve has calcified and he needs help from St. Jude. He is scorned on both sides of the water but says he will make the effort (m’ap fe efo) and slowly elevates his cachectic frame onto a tap-tap for an echocardiogram in dusty terrible downtown.

We continue on into Soleil. No gunshots this fine morning. But the general pediatric clinic in the back of Soleil is only one-quarter full and the starving-baby clinic is only one-half full. The mothers are afraid to come today. Who likes ducking bullets?

And since January 1, three weeks ago, the Haitian Hospital next to the pediatric clinic is now charging 100 Haitian dollars for a bed and 250 Haitian dollars for oxygen if you need it. And 50 Haitian dollars will buy you an IV and rehydration fluid that will save your miserable life. And a treatment of a first degree burn is cheaper than treatment of a third degree burn. These obscene charges keep many moms and babies away because they can’t pay. Only eight babies in the almost empty shabby rooms of the pediatric department. There should be hundreds of babies filling these rooms getting treatment for the ubiquitous stupid slum illnesses.

However a sad sixteen year old brought her baby boy in after paying eight Haitian dollars for his dossier. Baby Boy is nine hours old. He has no real name quite yet. She delivered him in Sarthe at 3 AM this morning and carried him into the slum today at 11 AM because he wasn’t moving or crying. His cord was tied with a dirty piece of cloth. Baby boy stared and took shallow breaths. But he would blink if I blew in his eyes.

My guess is hypoxic encephalopathy while he was trying to enter this hell. Who knows? Mother was staring too with no emotion at all. Oxygen per nostrils and an IV and NG tube didn’t do much for Baby Boy but he was making the effort to live.

John A. Carroll, M.D. is a physician working in Port-au-Prince.

 

John A. Carroll, M.D. is a physician working in Port-au-Prince.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
Stephen Cooper
Steinbeck’s Road Map For Resisting Donald Trump
February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail