A Sweet Charity Update
Last September, Dr. Euclide Toussaint, a pediatrician from Haiti, spent two weeks visiting the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit in Bethlehem to learn about pediatric rehabilitation, an area of medicine of which very little is known in Haiti. His visit was chronicled in the November/December 2012 issue of Sweet Charity.
A poignant story, shared with us by friends affiliated with Baptiste Convention Hospital, where Dr. Toussaint is medical director, illustrates the importance of mission partnerships like that between Good Shepherd and The Haiti Hospital Trust, the nonprofit organization that helps support the hospital. We thought it was worth sharing.
She was 16 years old, a single mother, living in poverty. Her baby was born weighing only two pounds and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Situations like this are not unfamiliar to Dr. Toussaint, who deals daily with the challenges of children with disabilities being born into poverty and to parents ill-equipped to care for medically-fragile infants.
Drawing on his experience at Good Shepherd just months earlier, Dr. Toussaint recalled how impressed he was with the way the pediatric staff conducted discharge planning for young patients and their families, and followed up with home visits.
Concerned for the young mother and her baby, who had feeding difficulties, Dr. Toussaint visited them at home in a small town on the outskirts of Cap-Haitien. He found the mother living in a single, spare room with the rest of her family. The typical house in communities such as this do not have electricity or running water.
After assessing that the home was inadequate for the mother to properly care for her baby, Dr. Toussaint suggested that the hospital hire the mother as an aide so she could learn better childcare skills. He also offered to pay her modest wages so she could afford some basic necessities.
“She comes a few hours each day and helps with washing,” says Carwyn Hill, director of the Haiti Hospital Trust. “And, Dr. Toussaint personally gives her some money to support her. This way he’s able to support the family, encourage the mom, and keep a closer eye on the baby. He’s an incredible man!”
Click here for the November/December 2012 issue of Sweet Charity where you can read more about Dr. Toussaint’s visit to Good Shepherd in “Hope for Haiti's Children."