In Septemeber 2008, I traveled 6000 miles to Haiti's Kenscoff mountains. My mission: to care for some of the orphaned and abandoned, the sick, malnourished and premature infants of this beautiful but beleagured Caribbean nation.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Sophie Dora

Sophie-Dora made a dramatic entrance into the orphanage at 3:30 am, on Tuesday morning. I was woken from a deep sleep by loud knocking at my door. Someone was calling my name. It was Laurie Bickel. 'The UN and Haitian Police have arrived with a baby from General hospital. They say that she needs oxygen.....' We knew there was unrest in Port-au-Prince. We knew it was not safe to travel a night, and glancing at the entourage that came with this 4lb infant, we also knew that unlike most of our patients, this one had connections.

Sophie was born on Saturday, around 4 weeks early at a private hospital in the city. She had breathing problems and was unable to feed from a bottle. The hospital she was born at did not have facilities for pre-term infants. Only the embattled and under-resourced government hospital would admit her. Sophie-Dora's mother watched on in alarm as her baby became weaker and began having cyanotic spells, during which, she turned blue. Sophie's Mother knew one of our GLA nurses. She was aware of our medical capabilities and, in her estimation, her baby's best chance of survival was to transfer her to us.

Sophie was extremely pale when she arrived. She had fluid her left lung. Babies are born with fluid filled lungs/ It is possible that this one was too weak to breathe deeply enough to clear this fluid herself. We put her in an incubator and started CPAP to help with her breathing. she is receiving antibiotics and tube feeds. At Sophie's gestational age and weight, the greatest risks to her health are hypothermia, feeding problems and infection. We have seen some very encouraging improvements in Sophie's condition. This morning, she is alert, sucking on her hands and crying 15 minutes before her feeds are due.

I am very thankful to everyone who made it possible for us to obtain the medical equipment that we have, and for everything we can do for some of Haiti's most fragile newborns.

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