Sonograms in the Slums

Dr. Julie performs a sonogram on a patient

Last month, NPFS welcomed an added addition to the St. Luc Medical Clinic in the slum of Wharf Jeremie: sonograms. Visiting OB/Gyn Dr. Julie brought her GE Portable Ultrasound, a compact, battery powered sonogram that allows ultrasounds to be administered in the most remote conditions. Expectant mothers from ages to 14 to 29 lined up to see the first-ever prenatal images of their babies.

Wharf Jeremie, a slum built on a rubbish dump in Port-au-Prince, has some of the worst health indicators in the world. Many of the second or third time mothers who visited the clinic delivered their previous children in their homes, tepid shacks where swine and other animals roam freely. The closest hospital is a private facility that charges an admission fee and requires that patients purchase their own medicine and supplies. As the sonograms were performed, all patients were informed of the free care available at St. Damien’s, and educated about the benefits of giving birth within a medical facility.

“It’s unbelievable the way people here live,” Dr. Julie commented as we walked through the crowded school house adjacent to the clinic. “I write my friends and families, but it’s hard to find the words to describe it. There’s no electricity, no sanitation, it’s unbelievable.” Almost as unbelievable as being able to do ultrasounds in one of the poorest places on earth.

One thought on “Sonograms in the Slums

  1. Joyce Edwards says:

    Dear Fr. Rick,
    Just a note from Kentucky.
    Deacon Michael Edwards spent last weekend preaching about you and your work for POM in the middle of Daniel Boon National Park. The appeal had two parishs, 35 miles apart. These two parishes are run by a 50 year old priest with Parkenson’s Disease that cannot drive any longer. Mike had to help attach his alb at the shoulder because he cannot lift his arm that high. The first parish about twenty people attended. The second parish about 12 attended. This priest had help, however, a sister of the age of about 70. Also, a Deacon and his wife. The Deacon is a Physicians Assistant who runs a free clinic for the county, and a Physical Therapist who works with him.
    We feel very privilaged to have been apart of your work. Mike returned home renewed for his ministry here in Louisville. While he was gone he took your book, and spent time in prayer for you and those who serve with you.
    Mike called the POM office this morning to speak with their office and tell them that he suggested that the Deacon Phy. Asst. and Phy Thearpist call to find any more information about St. Damien’s. Sure do hope that things work out for their visit.
    All that I know is that Mike and I met Bro. Leo about 35 years ago when he preached at our home parish, our entire life was changed. The week after Bro. Leo preached at our parish, we invited him for dinner. After dinner, he taught us how to pray the office. The rest is history. Mike has been ordained 28 years yesterday. When possible he has preached for POM through the years. What a wonderful way to spend an anniversary, preaching about the needs of you and your work.
    Thank you and may God continue to Bless you Real Good! Joyce

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