Stories & News from Medical Missionaries
Learn more about the work of Medical Missionaries by reading updates on our programs, and
the stories that our volunteers and Global Health Fellows have shared:
(And to keep
up to date with our news, be sure to follow Medical Missionaries on Facebook.)
10 jun 17 @ 3:54 pm
St. Joseph Clinic 10th Anniversary Celebration and the
Thomassique Health Fair
We celebrated the 10th anniversary of the opening of St. Joseph Clinic
in Thomassique, Haiti, on June 4, 2017.
The anniversary celebration started out with a Mass said by Fr. Ronel at St. Thomas, the local Catholic church. Dr. Lawrence and our Global Health Fellows spoke at Mass to thank the Thomassique community for their support
of the Clinic, and they invited everyone to attend the Thomassique Health Fair at the Clinic that afternoon.
300 people participated in the Health Fair, which featured more than a dozen education tables. Clinic doctors, nurses, and
Community Health Workers shared information with villagers about health issues that affect their daily lives.
Topics included the importance of vaccinations, dental hygiene, women's health,
ways to improve nutrition, disease prevention, the importance of water purification, and more! At each table, the participants
received tickets that made them eligible to win prizes in the raffle that followed. Along with the raffle, the participants
enjoyed music and snacks.
Everyone enjoyed themselves, and appreciated
the opportunity to learn more about ways to improve the health of their families.
16 may 17 @ 6:31 pm
Work of Medical Missionaries in 2016
had a busy year in 2016 in its efforts to serve the poor both in the USA and worldwide.
In the USA, Medical Missionaries provided Disaster Relief Assistance for victims of floods in West Virginia,
Louisiana, and North Carolina. Read more about disaster relief in 2016. We also worked with other groups to send many sea containers of medical and household supplies to the needy throughout the
world. Since our founding 20 years ago, we have shipped over 165 sea containers of supplies to those in need worldwide, and
have provided disaster relief in the USA for victims of hurricanes, floods, and tornados. Our volunteers have also made over
300 trips to deliver supplies to Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Appalachia, and American Indian reservations in Oklahoma
and South Dakota.
Our work in Haiti continues, with our focus on continuing support of St. Joseph Clinic in Thomassique
which we opened in 2007. The Clinic is the only medical facility serving more than 125,000 people in Haiti’s Central
Plateau, and its services continue to see significant growth.
In 2016 alone, more than 10,000 patients were seen
at the Clinic for medical consultations, with another 3,396 receiving medical care at the mobile clinics conducted in Thomassique’s
In the Maternity and Infant Care Program, over 300 babies were delivered at the clinic in 2016. The program
is currently staffed by 3 full-time midwives and a nurse skilled in midwifery who provide prenatal consultations, assist with
births, and conduct education sessions on postpartum and newborn health.
During the year, Matwons (Traditional
Birth Attendants) trained by the Clinic assisted with more than 1,500 home deliveries in Thomassique’s remote outlying
villages. Read more about the growing role of Matwons at the Clinic.
In our Vaccination Program, St. Joseph Clinic continued to serve as a coordinating site for
the Ministère de la SantèPublique et de la Population (MSPP, the Haitian Ministry of Health) vaccination program.
Each month hundreds of mothers receive vaccinations at the Clinic, plus Community Health Workers provide vaccinations in the
outlying villages of Thomassique. Read more about vaccinations for mother and child.
Be sure to follow Medical Missionaries on Facebook to hear more about these and our other programs, including our Water Purification Program, School Lunch Program, Malnutrition
Program, and Bon Sel (Good Salt) Program.
17 apr 17 @ 2:38 pm
A Life Saved, With Lasting Impact for St. Joseph Clinic
One story of service has had a lasting impact on St. Joseph Clinic.
In January 2008, a young man was brought to the Clinic just as a surgical team from the U.S. arrived. He had been paralyzed
several years earlier, was confined to a wheelchair, and was brought in experiencing a fever and body aches. One of the visiting
U.S. surgeons, Dr. Dave Snyder, and his nurse, Sherry Pace, examined the young man and determined that he was septic. Only
immediate surgery would save his life. The U.S. team was able to perform exactly the surgery that he needed and saved his
That young man would regularly return to the Clinic to
visit with the Medical Team when they were there. He also went on to graduate top in his class from the university in Hinche,
majoring in business and accounting.
A few years later, Junior
St. Fleur Charles would become the Manager of St. Joseph Clinic.
14 apr 17 @ 4:58 pm
My Hope For All Children
Medical Missionaries Board Member, Team Member
On one of our first medical trips to Thomassique a mother brought her baby to the clinic. The baby was drowning in
her own secretions. She was about 6 months old, could no longer even hold her head up, and her eyes were all glassed over.
We were all so upset knowing she would soon be just a statistic of a dead child in Haiti.
Dr. Irwin, undaunted, instructed us to give the baby an IM (intramuscular) antibiotic injection.
then spoke with the mom and asked her to bring the child back in the afternoon for another injection. The mother brought the
baby to the clinic twice a day for antibiotic injections. We were all amazed at how quickly the baby improved.
The afternoon of the third day the little baby came to the clinic in her Sunday best with a bonnet on her head and
a big smile on her face. It was such a miracle!!
This is what I hope for all little children. It is one of the many reasons I continue with Medical
14 apr 17 @ 4:44 pm
A Volunteer's Story
Warehouse Volunteer, Medical Team Member
In April 2008, I was looking for a local organization where
I could use my nursing skills to help others. I wanted to volunteer with like minded and motivated people who shared a cause
close to my heart. A Web search lead me to Medical Missionaries. I was attracted by the fact that it is
an organization dedicated to “helping the poorest of the poor”.
I emailed Dr Irwin to set up a meeting. My involvement was not at all what I thought it would be; it turned out to
be better. While I occasionally went on medical teams to Thomassique, I ended up helping at the Medical Missionaries warehouse
on a regular basis. Other volunteers showed me how to sort, label and store the incoming donated medical
supplies. I learned that MM not only helps third world countries, but they help local folks in need. I was surprised at the
wide variety of services Medical Missionaries provides to people in need, in the U.S. And many countries throughout the world.
am glad to be a part of an organization that is making a difference.
11 apr 17 @ 10:27 pm
Smiling and Full of Life
By Debra Parrish
Surgical Team Leader
It’s amazing what can happen when you just put your arm around someone. It can lead
to “fixing a broken heart.”
I first met William in Banica during a surgical team trip. Walking to and from the Banica hospital every day, I would
encounter William and some of his seven siblings. I passed out Tootsie roll pops to them. Somehow, this little
boy made a big impression on me.
The next year when I returned, William was at the side of the road and
remembered me as the “Tootsie Roll Pop Lady.” I wanted to get a photo of William and me. I bent down beside
him and when I put my arm around him I felt a very profound heart murmur. I had our surgeons look at him. They agreed
that he had some major heart defects.
Not wanting William to die at an early age, I decided to try to arrange for
the help he needed. It took eight months to make the arrangements but William and his mother arrived in the U.S and
spent thirty-one days at Ronald McDonald house in Washington, a few miles from the hospital where William would be treated
for his heart problems.
This only happened thanks to the efforts of many people and Medical Missionaries.
Volunteers took care of the passport and VISA paperwork, served as translators, donated clothes, and provided hospitality
to William and his mother. American Airlines provided free tickets. The Larry King Heart Foundation and Children’s
Hospital underwrote the hospital bills. The cardiologist and surgeon donated their services.
had heart surgery and recovered quickly. If not for the scar on his chest, you would never guess he even had surgery.
After several post-operative visits, William was given the green light to resume a normal life and he and his mother returned
Footnote: Each subsequent year when Debra returned on surgical
teams, she would try to find William to check on his progress. She found him in February 2010, and was happy to see he is
doing great, and took this photo with him.
26 sep 12 @ 3:53 pm
To read blog posts from earlier years posted
by our Global Health Fellows during their year of service in Haiti, visit the "Global Health Fellows' Blogs" on Blogspot (clicking this link will take you to thomassique.blogspot.com).