Kevin Cullen sensitively writes this column in today's Boston Globe about Crystal Sannella and her colleagues from BIDMC who recently went on a medical mission to Haiti.
I've had the privilege of getting to know some of these folks, and I am struck by their generosity of spirit. You can see this, too, in the post-mission emails among them and to those of us in hospital administration. Here are some excerpts from three:
Now that we are all back from Haiti, I just wanted to take a minute to say again what an honor it was to work beside all of you this last week. Despite conditions that really defy description, you each worked tirelessly to provide the absolute best quality of care possible given the circumstances of the situation, and I - and the patients and families we cared for - appreciate that. Surrounded by such devastation and tragedy, it would have been easy to despair; yet each of you managed in different and unique ways to create something positive in an otherwise bleak reality, always acting professionally and with compassion.
The experiences we have had will all make us better in our own roles and appreciate the resources we do have to provide great clinical care at BIDMC. I have no doubt that there are many more people alive this week who would not have been had we not been there. There were unfortunately a lot of deaths as well, but having reviewed every case, I can honestly say that nothing more could have been done in the clinical situations you were all in. You have touched the lives of many and they were grateful for it -- evidenced by the fact they did not want us to leave.
[This trip] was shocking, tragic, exciting, challenging, inspiring, and memorable -- sometimes discouraging, but ultimately immensely gratifying. We were all frustrated and saddened by the limits of what we could do, but despite those limits I think we were able to do some very good work. I'm also especially grateful that as a very junior member of the department I was given the opportunity to help. It was a profound experience for me, and I hope very much that I can make international work a significant part of my practice in the future.