When a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Holy Name Medical Center was in a good position to help, as over the past two decades, it has built a presence at Hopital Sacre Coeur, in Milot, about a four-hour drive from Port-au-Prince.
Holy Name has a dedicated staff of doctors and nurses who regularly bring supplies to residents of the impoverished nation and share their expertise with Haitian health care professionals. Since the earthquake, the hospital has grown from 63 to 123 beds, and serves nearly 60,000 people each year — twice the number it served previously. Although the technology may be 30 to 40 years behind the times, Hopital Sacre Coeur has become one of the principal health care facilities for the people of northern Haiti.
"As an organization vibrant with faith and a beacon of light in challenging times, we chose to act," said Michael Maron, president and CEO of the Teaneck hospital. "This is how faith must be. The minor sacrifices we will make for Haiti will only make us stronger and better caregivers here."
The hospital's efforts in the wake of the earthquake became a featured portion of a public television program called "Making a Difference: Have a Heart, Help Haiti." About 350 people attended a Feb. 13 screening, including Dr. David Butler, an ob/gyn from Holy Name who has volunteered at Hopital Sacre Coeur for 20 years and serves as president of the Center for Rural Development of Milot. Anesthesiologists Dr. Timothy Finley and Dr. Alan Gwertzman were also on hand to share personal stories about their experiences in Haiti. The show aired last week on several PBS stations.
The television show also served to bring awareness to Holy Name's "Hospital for Haiti" fundraising initiative. It provided an overview of the medical center's efforts to enhance patient care in light of the socioeconomic challenges in Haiti. With no electricity in many areas around the hospital — and in some cases, no clean drinking water — nurses have climbed hills in the rural area to care for patients.
"People often die there from a lack of basic resources," said Jacqueline Kates, community relations coordinator for Holy Name. "Dr. Butler really has a passion that he has brought back here to us. He is trying to improve the level of health care for the people of Milot by improving the hospital."