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

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail