HHM Clinic

February 2nd, 2015 by Eileen Westhues
Posted in Uncategorized|

haiti clinic


The clinic waiting room is packed. New moms with new born babies, children, and elderly line every bench patiently waiting to be seen. They dress to impress, button down shirts, often with suit jackets or nice dresses and hats. The children dress beautifully, wearing dresses we would see at a baptismal or at church on Easter Sunday. They consider this their winter and are dressed for the cold. Some wear multiple layers and stocking caps. It’s mid 80’s outside. Haitians are very clean. Besides a gnarly wound, I haven’t appreciated any bad smells or body odor. They take a lot of pride in this. I often see many washing their feet in streams so that they are clean for their visit.


The clinic is very comprehensive. We have a lab that is capable of HIV, VDRL, Malaria, CBC and some chemistries. We have an X-ray machine that was previously used in the military. Chest and extremity films turn out pretty decent. There’s a well equipped nursing station where we keep our sicker patients for IV Fluids, antibiotics and longer monitoring. It’s a challenge to get a patients admitted to the hospital. When necessary we send the patients with all the supplies (IV tubing, fluids, bandages, meds) that we predict will be needed. It’s common to repeatedly see  the higher acuity patients each day and slowly nurse them back to health rather than attempt to send them to a hospital and risk them being denied care or be treated inappropriately. Of course there are certain situations like our kiddo with the acute appy or the sickle cell patient who presented with a hematocrit of 9, where we have no choice but to send them to a hospital and pray they get treated.


Everywhere you look is a breastfeeding mother. It’s actually refreshing to see how accepted it is to breast feed in public.  If you don’t breastfeed your baby, they don’t survive. Malnutrition is a huge concern. Miss Sally is an American NP that runs a malnutrition program, among many other things, at HHM. The community is thankful to have her and the resources that she provides.


So far I’ve seen a plentiful of type II diabetes and hypertension. Depression, CHF and acid reflux were also very common. These people work (physically) hard and walking is their main means of transportation. Arthralgia and LBP are common complaints. Tylenol is the main analgesic we have to offer and patients are appreciative and satisfied with this. No narcotic seeking here. Tobaccoism is very uncommon. Some drink but it was also rare.  The pictures I’ve shared include a 1 year old baby boy who suffers from hydrocephalus. He had been seen once before at a hospital but never heard back regarding a treatment plan. I fear his little life will end soon. The little girl presented with a facial growth that has slowly progressed since birth. Dr. Jim looked with US and with a cranial film. She was neurologically intact and we are praying there’s no brain involvement. We sent her for a CT, results TBD. The woman in the nursing station has ascites. I drained 5.5 liters of fluid off and she will come back in a few days to do more. The well appearing little one was there to follow up for an acute gastroenteritis, obviously glowing and doing well.


Clinic is efficient and gratifying. Documentation is brief, your time is spent with the patient. It’s so refreshing to be able to just practice medicine.

Life In Haiti

January 25th, 2015 by INMED
Posted in Uncategorized|

10917066_10100223189493890_4124549938254738204_n(First, allow me to apologize. I am not a blogger or a writer, and never plan to claim to be a good at this).

Wow, I can’t believe how much I’ve learned and witnessed during my short time here. I have been sincerely blown away by Haiti Health Ministries (HHM) and the services it provides to this community. The long term missionaries here are saints. They work selflessly and diligently. Devotions and worship begins every morning at 8 am. The waiting room is filled with atleast 200 souls, all praying they’ll be seen. I’ve seen people lined up at the gates as early as 6 am when I leave for my morning hike. They are triaged by need and by appointment. They patiently wait, sometimes all day, to be seen. The less acute, or those that come too late, come back the following day. I have yet to hear one person complain, even after waiting 8 long hours in the heat. (Compare that to those who are outraged when you’re running 20 minutes behind in the states).

Obtaining a history is challenging through an interpreter but still, along with physical exam, are the most valuable sources of information I have to go by. We are fortunate here to have some lab and xray available when needed. Dr Jim, the founder of HHM, is also extremely handy with the ultrasound which has also been a blessing. Some pay what they can, some don’t have anything. They all get seen and cared for.


I’ve been lucky enough to find a few women that enjoy hiking in the morning. It’s been my time for self-reflection and I’ve been able to witness the true beauty this country has to offer. We are located out in the countryside, lots of green hills and pastures. The roads are gravel and uneven and you often have to dodge motorcycles. Dozens of men and women travel up and down these hills balancing goods on their heads or if they’re lucky, by Mule. They spend all day set up at a market in hopes of making money then lug everything not sold back home several miles. I just finished a nice 4 miles up with another missionary living down the road. It’s incredible how many people make a life here, some for 6 months, some for years. All serving a different purpose, medical, teaching, building, setting up orphanages etc. Some with young families, raising their own kids here in Haiti.

More later, it’s too beautiful out to be stuck inside.

My First INMED Blog Post

January 3rd, 2015 by INMED
Posted in Uncategorized|

westhues-eileenHello! My name is Eileen Westhues. I am a family medicine resident at the Research Family Medicine Residency, and I’m starting my INMED service-learning experience at Haiti Health Ministries in Haiti beginning on January 3, 2015