Emergency Department Hosts Haitian Medical Student

Last year in the wake of the earthquake that devastated Haiti, two members of the Emergency Department staff from Howard Young Medical Center took part in a medical mission trip as part of Vision of Hope Ministries from Eagle River. Maria Romanenko, MD and Lori Goff, RN, both from the Emergency Department of the hospital spent a week to assist with recovery efforts. The hospital sent along medicine, supplies, and scrubs to assist with the effort.

During their week in Haiti the two worked in a temporary medical clinic in Berard, a remote area near Cap-Hatien on the northern part of the island. The area had become home to many displaced refugees from Port-au-Prince. Working in a “tent” hospital, the group treated skin infections, urinary tract infections, untreated injuries caused by the earthquake, and a number of other health-related issues.

It was during their first hours there that they met Kinsly Fidele, a Haitian medical student studying in the Dominican Republic. Kinsly volunteered to assist the group and them prepared for their trip across the mountains to Haiti. He served as a translator and made sure their bus transportation was in order for the border crossing. Kinsly was in his final year of medical school with plans to return to his hometown in Haiti when his schooling was completed.

What could have been just a chance meeting between Dr. Romanenko and Kinsly turned out to be much more. Dr. Romanenko remained in touch with young man sending him medical books written in English and providing some financial assistance so he could continue to finish his studies uninterrupted.

Kinsly grew up in a small town called Pignon in the northern part of Haiti. With little money but a great desire to help the people around him, he worked as a painter to earn his way through school. His father and the pastor of a local church also contributed what they could. Kinsly had to learn Spanish in order to attend medical school and along the way he learned to speak English, both languages self-taught.

Over the past year, Dr. Romanenko kept in touch with Kinsly as he continued his studies. Earlier this year she arranged for him to spend ten days in the United States to experience the Emergency Department at Howard Young Medical Center to learn more about emergency medicine and clinical practice. During the visit he also had an opportunity see many other areas of the hospital to better understand how health care services are provided in this country.

When he completes his studies, Dr. Fidele will return to Pignon to set up a medical clinic. One of the first issues he must address is helping the people of his community obtain clean drinking water. The people of his village obtain water from a nearby river and springs but often the water is not pure causing health issues. He is devoted to the people of his community and hopes one day to see other improvements to the place where he grew up. Thanks to the efforts of staff at Howard Young Medical Center, his vision to see those things happen is much more likely to be realized.

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