Dr. Jeff Kempf arrived to Haiti for his first time in February 2010, shortly after the tragic earthquake hit the country. Sr. Judy Dohner, originally from Akron, Ohio and the former Director of St. Damien Pediatric Hospital, sent out an invitation to Akron Children’s Hospital because of the urgent need for doctors and Dr. Kempf jumped at the opportunity to help. Since then, Dr. Kempf and Akron Children’s Hospital, have built a strong bond and relationship with St. Damien and we cannot thank them enough for their hard-work and dedication to our organization.
Dr. Kempf was blown away when he first saw all of the work that Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs (NPFS) does in Haiti. Although he mainly works at St. Damien when he is in Haiti, he has visited all of the other programs we have in the country and he was very impressed. According to Dr. Kempf, “NPFS is living out the mission of Christ and it is truly an honor for me to work and learn from my Haitian colleagues.”
Initially when Dr. Kempf and his team came to Haiti, they were assisting with urgent and emergency care for those affected by the earthquake. However, as time passed, they were able to establish programs with the hospital including cardiac care, sickle cell anemia care, a pediatric residency exchange and surgery team visits. Through these projects, Dr. Kempf and his staff have established a cohesive collaboration and strong partnership with St. Damien. Everyone works well together and they also learn from each other with the same mission in mind, to give the best quality of care to the children in Haiti.
The project that Dr. Kempf is most directly involved in is the cardiac care. Twice a year, with the support of his hospital, Dr. Kempf and his colleagues organize two trips for pediatric cardiac surgical patients to come to Ohio for operations. The children are chosen based on prior trips made to Haiti with a cardiac care team. Dr. Kempf and his family also welcome the children to their home where they stay for the duration of six weeks. Since April 2012, Dr. Kempf has welcomed four children into his home and they return home with repaired hearts, big smiles and a lot of new friends. The parents are grateful and happy for the safe return of their children and are amazed to see how the heart defect is corrected and the children can now live normal lives.
A big thanks to Dr. Kempf, his family and everyone from Akron Children’s Hospital! It is because of people like them that we can continue saving the lives of children in Haiti.
Contributed by Denso Gay and Avriel Burlot
Communication Officer and Communication Specialist