Friday, May 21, 2010

Urgent Message from Sean Penn's Camp

Every day that we are on the ground in Haiti, we are reminded of the high stakes of our work. Our medical director, Dr. Justine Crowley, sent me the heartbreaking letter below, which I wanted to share w ith you. She told me about a young boy of 14, who died from advanced respiratory diphtheria last week --- a death that could have been prevented with adequate medical infrastructure.

Please read her letter (below) and make a donation to help us reach a day when no more lives are lost to preventable diseases: Donate Here

J/P HRO is dedicated to providing much-needed medical care and equipment and building medical facilities in Haiti, but we need your help. No one person can solve this crisis, but working together we can save lives and make a tremendous difference.

Thank you for all that you do,
Ana LaDou
PS: We could really use more medical volunteers. Please consider volunteering.

From: Dr. Justine Crowley
Date: Sun, May 9, 2010 8:13
To: Ana LaDou
Subject: A young life lost
Ana ---

A young boy of 14 with advanced respiratory diphtheria died overnight. The death of this boy was not just another death in Haiti. His life was fought for by many individuals who made extraordinary efforts to work around and through a broken system. And it took a Herculean effort to get the boy appropriate care. The crisis began at 8 AM and continued for the next fourteen hours. This effort involved first transporting the patient --- having a working vehicle and driver capable of navigating the traffic, and debris of the streets of Port-au-Prince, finding an appropriately equipped and staffed hospital, and finally, finding and accessing the immunoglobulin. It is only because of the efforts of many INDIVIDUALS that these tasks were accomplished.

Yet, despite the success of the first day, nothing was done in a timely manner --- with the exception of obtaining a culture swab for analysis. The immunoglobulin was administered immediately after delivery to General Hospital where the boy was admitted but acquiring the immunoglobulin required the director of the PROMESS warehouse (the only location in all of Port-au-Prince with the immunoglobulin) to leave his home and meet the JP Staff at the warehouse at 9:30 PM. This delay may well have affected the eventual outcome due to the continued progression of an already advanced disease process.

IF the boy had been immunized, he would not have gotten sick. IF there was appropriate communication between hospitals, it would not have taken 6+ hours to place the child in a bed. IF the MSPP had a better system for reporting disease, and coordinating necessary immunoglobulin delivery, the child might have received the immunoglobulin at 10:30 AM, not twelve hours later as was the case.
A child's life was likely lost today due to the complete absence of a comprehensive system.

This painful experience is yet another reminder of why you, Sean and I and all our fantastic volunteers and donors must keep working day and night to provide medical care and make sure that this never happens to another child. We desperately need funds and resources to immunize people against diphtheria and other terrible diseases that are beginning to spread. And we need the infrastructure and equipment to keep those medicines from spoiling and make sure they are readily available when needed.

If you can get this message to our great supporters around the world, I know they will do what they can to help --- as they always do. Knowing that they are behind us every step of the way is what keeps us going.

Thanks, Ana.
--- Justine

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