FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Making the Effort to Live in Cité Soleil

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.

 

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
Louis Proyect
The Revolutionary Films of Raymundo Gleyzer
Sarah Anderson
If You Hate Campaign Season, Blame Money in Politics
Victor Grossman
Contrary Creatures
Tamara Pearson
Children Battling Unhealthy Body Images Need a Different Narrative About Beauty
Peter Knutson
The Salmon Wars in the Pacific Northwest: Banning the Rough Customer
Binoy Kampmark
Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet
Robert Koehler
The Music That’s in All of Us
Norah Vawter
The Kids Might Save Us
Tracey L. Rogers
Freedom for All Begins With Freedom for the Most Marginalized
Paul Armentano
Marijuana Can Help Fight Opioid Abuse
Tom Clifford
Britain’s Return to the South China Sea
Graham Peebles
Young People Lead the Charge to Change the World
Matthew Stevenson
A Pacific Odyssey: Around General MacArthur’s Manila Stage Set
B. R. Gowani
Starbucks Guy Comes Out to Preserve Billionaire Species
David Yearsley
Bogart Weather
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail