Chronicle: A CSON parent films her journey to Haiti
photographs: lexey swall
Video producer Liz Thibodeau signed on to the Connell School’s third clinical service trip to Haiti as a documentarian who would “witness” the week-long mission through her lens. She expected to bring back footage that would show “what it felt like to be there” as she traveled to orphanages and makeshift mobile clinics in five villages, observing the work of 21 CSON faculty, students, and alumni—including her daughter, Sophie Thibodeau ’07, M.S. ’12—as they saw upwards of 200 patients each day.
“Everything changed once we went to our first clinic,” says Thibodeau, who produces nursing and medical videos at Take One Digital Media in Annapolis, Maryland. “I quickly became immersed in the mission of the nurses themselves.”
Thibodeau was both participant and witness on the last day of the medical mission, when the team cared for Margalie Auguste, a 39-year-old pregnant woman from a local village, to the clinic (see photo above). The nurses examined the patient, learned she was about to deliver, and let her listen to her baby’s heartbeat. They showed her some exercises to help ease labor and delivery, and gave her a birthing kit, some clothes, and money. Thibodeau, Lindsay Lachky ’13, and Shelby Kaubris ’13 then walked Margalie home to the small, one-room shack she shared with seven—soon to be eight—family members.
To Kaubris, the experience distilled the essence of community health nursing. She said, “We found Margalie out in the Haitian community, brought her back to our clinic to examine her, provided teaching and resources, and brought her home.” ✹
Kirsten Grueter ’13 took charge of entertaining the youngest children while the nurse practitioners examined others at a Port-au-Prince orphanage.
Katie Farrell ’13 (right) gets help from a Haitian translator (center) as she takes the health histories of a mother and her baby. When family members asked to be evaluated together, as many did, “it could take a good deal of time and patience to understand why a person had come to the clinic that day.”
“The clinic was crowded, and patients had to wait a long time in lengthy lines the day this photo was taken,” said Diana Paris, M.S. ’13. “People tried to get closer to the providers, which made patient privacy difficult to maintain.”
Because so many young children in Haiti suffer from croup and asthma, “it was important for us to listen carefully to each patient’s lungs to properly assess their breathing capacity,” said Julia Cambria, M.S. ’13. The Connell School team provided inhalers they brought to Haiti, but only had enough for patients who were wheezing badly or had “uncontrollable coughs.”
The little girl in this photo with Annie Harrington ’13 (left) and Katie Farrell ’13 (right) had contracted scabies, a highly contagious skin disease that can be spread through bedding and clothing. “We treated these small children by covering them head-to-toe with Permethrin cream, which needed to be left on for 24 hours,” said Farrell.