Pharmacists in Haiti

We’ve all been inspired by the outpouring of volunteerism related to the Haiti earthquake in January, which has included numerous physicians and clinicians who work here at Children’s Medical Center. But my co-workers and I were particularly touched by a story about a pharmacist trio from Children’s.

The three worked 16-hour days in blazing heat and high humidity but they were together and the cause made it all worthwhile.

The three pharmacists made their way to Haiti on their own time for medical mission work April 17-24. They went to see how they could help the island nation in the aftermath of its devastating earthquake and multiple aftershocks. Working as both pediatric and adult critical care pharmacists, Brenda Darling, Pharm.D, R.Ph. and Sandra Howell, Pharm.D, R.Ph., worked in the neonatal intensive care unit and David Schwartz, DPM, R.Ph., worked in the medical/surgical area at a hospital in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

“The conditions were austere,” Schwartz said. They mostly worked in tents with wooden or sometimes dirt or gravel floors and slept on cots. And they mainly delivered medications on the run, preparing IVs for doctors and surgeons who were caring for trauma patients. “They were certified, top-of-the-line professionals,” Schwartz said of the medical teams, and “they were very appreciative of having pharmacists there,” said Howell.

There is still so much to be done in Haiti. Photos from their trip and brief interviews with each of the three pharmacists reveal just how they feel about the experience and the people of Haiti. One thing they all agree on: The spirit of the Haitian people has not been destroyed but only bowed.


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