Team from St. Damien Pediatric Hospital travels to Akron, Ohio

To learn how to diagnose and then care for those patients after surgery, a 7-person team from St. Damien has been visiting Akron Children’s during the past 6 weeks.

They’ve been spending quite a bit of time studying Akron Children’s pediatric intensive care unit.

The team from Haiti includes Drs. Beatrice Fontalis and Johanne Alix, nurses Charlemagne Ganaelle and Marie Lourdie Chery, pharmacist Pierre Hagues Saint Jean, biotech engineer Jean-Marc Deralien, and administrator Jean Claude Andre Marie.

The team from Haiti includes Drs. Beatrice Fontalis and Johanne Alix, nurses Charlemagne Ganaelle and Marie Lourdie Chery, pharmacist Pierre Hagues Saint Jean, biotech engineer Jean-Marc Deralien, and administrator Jean Claude Andre Marie.

In addition to participating in daily rounds in the PICU, the team has been doing medical simulations and practicing procedures, and even learning Lean Six Sigma principles and doing their own quality improvement project.

Perhaps the most valuable training was following 2 boys from Haiti – a 10 year old and a 2 year old – as they underwent heart surgeries. They observed pre-surgical diagnostic tests and physical exams, watched Drs. Phil Smith and Michael Spector perform the surgeries, and then stayed with the boys through their recovery.

Akron Children's trains Haiti team using medical simulations

Akron Children’s trains Haiti team using medical simulations

Dr. Beatrice Fontalis has taken note of the differences between St. Damien and Akron Children’s, including many things most likely taken for granted here, such as ventilation equipment in every PICU room and CT scans.

Nurses play more active role in U.S.

After observing rounds in the PICU one morning, Dr. Fontalis noted the more active role that nurses take in the process.


“Here, nurses present the medical history, the vital signs and the labs,” she said. “When we do rounds, nurses participate but do not speak.”

She noted that St. Damien treats children with many more infectious diseases, such as malaria, pneumonia, meningitis and tuberculosis.

She looks forward to being able to offer the children of Haiti the same surgeries that are routinely available to all children in the United States.

“There are far, far too many kids in Haiti to fix,” said Dr. Kempf. “But this will be a good start. St. Damien’s should be ready to handle the more minor congenital heart surgeries, but the children with the more complex defects and in need of multi-stage surgeries will still need to travel to the United States.”

One good outcome of the earthquake was the mobilization of healthcare providers and humanitarians to help Haiti.

Dr. Kempf has worked to not only send delegations of Akron Children’s doctors and nurses to St. Damien over the past 4 years, but he also helps coordinate efforts with 6 other children’s hospitals across the United States.


Dr. John Clark, a pediatric cardiologist who has taken several trips to Haiti, said it can be emotionally difficult to be limited in what he can offer parents when he is at St. Damien.

“The need is overwhelming,” he said.

Local, regional and national chapters of Rotary International and Gift of Life gave a grant to cover the cost of bringing the Haitian clinicians to Akron Children’s, as well as paying $5,000 for each boy’s surgery – just a fraction of the actual cost.

If you would like support these efforts, contact Dr. Jeff Kempf at or visit Gift of Life’s website at

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Saving young lives at heart of Haiti mission


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Dr. Lisa Martorano (second from left) a resident at Akron Children’s Hospital, describes the procedure for the removal of a central line for surgery on an eleven-year-old Haitian boy to Haitian medical team members Dr. Beatrice Fontalis (left) and nurses Charlemagne Ganaelle and Marie Lourdie Chery the day after his surgery to repair a heart defect in Oct. 2014 in Akron. (Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon Journal)


Photo of the Week


Just over a year ago, St. Damien teamed up with the leaders at the University Notre Dame D’Haiti and Hospital Bernard Mevs/Project Medishare to launch a pediatric residency program. Currently, there are only 2.6 doctors/10,000 people in Haiti, and remarkably, there are only 139 residency training positions available annually across all disciplines. Pediatrics accounts for only 27 of those positions, and there are 4.8 million children across the country to care for. Clearly, the need is great.

By providing this opportunity for higher education, this program will educate and graduate the pediatric specialists necessary for the management of complicated illnesses in children throughout Haiti. The program is designed to train 6-8 residents over a three year period specialized curriculum that includes supervised evidence-based treatment and care of critically ill pediatric patients, as well as prevention strategies for pediatric health and safety according to ACGME-International guidelines.

Ultimately, this program will help save countless lives in a country where disease and poverty run rampant. Please consider making a gift to support essential programs and services like this that St. Damien provides. There are thousands of vulnerable children in Haiti that desperately need and deserve our help.

Staff Profile: Dr. Arty

NPH Haiti_2014_Hospital_16

Dr. Arty has been with St. Damien for over 20 years now and we cannot thank her enough for the hard work and dedication she has continuously put forth during that time. Her true passion remains in pediatric health care and that is evident in her daily interaction with patients. She is an excellent motivator and doctor and we don’t know what we would do without her.

After some time in private practice, Dr. Arty was ready for a new challenge and new experience that involved more than just giving shots and vaccines. She crossed paths with Dr. Gautier nearly two decades ago and that is when she was invited to come check out St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, which then was in the city of Petionville, and offered a position as a pediatrician with only 15 days to decide. Dr. Arty says, “after that visit I knew right then and there that this is where I was meant to be and I said yes!”

At that time there were only three pediatric doctors working together, all of which are still with us! But as time went on and the need and demand became more obvious, that team grew until they eventually had to move locations to where the hospital stands today in Tabbare. Since the move in 2007, Dr. Arty has been the Medical Director of St. Damien’s Pediatric Hospital.

Dr. Arty comments that the best part of the job is simply being a doctor, being with the patients and treating patients. She lights up when she is with the children in the hospital and does what ever she can to treat them and send them off to live a healthy childhood.

She truly believes and lives out the mission of St. Damien and will keep fighting for it and for the lives of each child who walks though the door. She is a true inspiration and many look up to her as a role model and as an example. Her compassionate demeanor and ability to connect with people benefits her not only as a doctor but also as a teacher to her fellow doctors, our residents and the entire hospital staff. We appreciate the past twenty years she has selflessly given to St. Damien and we look forward to what new and innovative ideas she brings in the future.

Contributed by Avriel Burlot
Communication Specialist

Patient Cholera Profile: Jacqueline

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Jacqueline*, two-years-old, was admitted to the Rehydration Center at St. Damien Pediatric Hospital for three days after several days of being severely ill at home. She is the only child in her family, living with both of her parents. Jacqueline had several episodes of diarrhea, vomiting and fever when she arrived. When the symptoms first started, her mother brought her to St. Catherine Hospital in Cite Soliel. However, as they are not equipped to take care of these types of cases, the doctor transferred her to St. Damien’s for better care.

According to Dr. Ernestine Ysaac, the lead doctor in the Rehydration Center at St. Damien, “by the time she arrived her condition were very bad. She was lethargy, not able to drink anything due to her severe dehydration and her heart rate was slowing down too. But, the child was quickly treated with IV fluids and in her first night, the child received four bags of IV fluids.” By the next day, Dr. Ysaac assured, the child’s health improved with sign of rehydration and normal vital signs.

Today, Jacqueline is in great health and was discharged to go back home. However, before discharging her, the doctor discovered that the child was also suffering malnutrition. She was referred to our external malnutrition program where she visit regularly for check up’s and to receive special peanut better, vegetables and medication to treat her malnutrition.

Jacqueline’s mother said, “Thank you very much for your generous help that you provided to my child, because without you she might not be here. St. Damien’s was my only chance and I want to thank the staff who were quick in treating and taking the good care of my kid.”

Jacqueline and her mother are now home, happy and healthy!

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Staff Profile: Dolcy’s Caring Heart

Dolcy in front of the Social Services office.

Dolcy in front of the Social Services office.

Dolcy started working at St. Damien in early 2010 as a part of the social work team. Each member of the social work team is responsible for different departments throughout the hospital and since his first day Dolcy has been responsible for the children and families in the cancer ward and the neonatal unit. Dolcy loves his job and is extremely good at it and we are fortunate to have him on our team.

Dolcy explained that even though there are challenges in the job, the majority of the time his experiences are rewarding. He is constantly on the move and crossing items off of his to-do list. On a day to day basis, he checks in on families and children, writes reports, is called into meetings and even has to travel to get passports and visas.

“The most rewarding part of the job,” Dolcy says, “is building relationships with the children and families and being a support for them in their most difficult times.”

In 2012, Dolcy was promoted as the director of the office. He was then managing all of the social workers and overseeing the work done in each department. He was thrilled for the opportunity and took the challenge on with open arms. However, in 2013 there was a restructure throughout the office and a psychologist was hired onto the team and also named director. Dolcy has served as a wonderful mentor for him to fall into the role with ease.

He feels honored to be a part of such a wonderful mission and to be working towards the mission with hands on action. Dolcy said, “we take care of everyone with all of our heart. We try to help everyone and to do all we can do for them.”

One story that with remain with Dolcy forever is about a little boy named Michael*. Michael was a patient in the cancer ward (known as Salon Mango) back in 2010. When he arrived his stomach was swollen and overextended due to the fast-growing tumor. Dolcy recalls that no matter how sick he got, he always danced. He also had no papers, which was a challenge for Dolcy, as many of our cancer patients need to travel to the Dominican Republic after receiving chemotherapy to receive radiation therapy. Dolcy spent six-months, non-stop, on his papers and eventually got them! Michael then went to the Dominican Republic for treatment and Dolcy cannot tell this story with a smile from ear to ear.

Dolcy’s caring heart and determination to complete whatever task is thrown his way is why we feel very lucky to have him as a part of our team. He is a valuable member of the St. Damien family and we don’t know what we would do without him.

*Names have been changed for privacy purposes.

Contributed by Avriel Burlot, former Communication Specialist NPH Haiti