By Meryl Glassman, PIH’s West Coast Regional Outreach Manager
Recently, the Sacramento-based Sutter Health donated an equipment sterilizer to Saint Nicolas Hospital, a hospital in St. Marc run by the Haitian Ministry of Health and Partners In Health. The sterilizer, manufactured by the Getinge Group, is a general-purpose vacuum steam sterilizer capable of decontaminating laboratory and medical equipment—an expensive piece of machinery that is very much needed in Haiti right now.
Sutter Health employees have traveled to Haiti with PIH six times since the earthquake in January 2010. Those same employees brokered the donation of a sterilizer.
Sutter Health employees then raised the money necessary to have the sterilizer shipped to Haiti, and a few weeks ago the Sutter Health team (led by Steve Lockhart) travelled to Haiti to help install the equipment and train the staff on how to use it.
As you’ll see from Steve’s description below, not only was the Sutter Health team able to use it in a number of surgeries, but the Haitian surgeons in St. Marc have been using it quite a bit since they left—which was of course the main goal all along.
Sutter Health’s Dr. Lockhart sent an email updating us on the sterilizer on March 26.
From: Lockhart, Stephen, M.D.
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2011
Subject: Sterilizer for Haiti…Thank you
We have returned from our trip and I wanted to update and thank you. The sterilizer arrived, is installed and is working extremely well. We had a lot of activity around installation and I wish to particularly thank Mark who placed and received calls at all times of the day and night to walk us through this.
The unit is now being used by local staff (Joan trained them) and everything is programmed in French. While we were there, we were able to do 50 cases, including hip implants for femur fractures, some of which were almost one year old!! Without the sterilizer, they would still be waiting. More importantly, it allowed us to do some training and Haitian surgeons performed 27 more cases the week after we left.
Here is a link to a brief video. I apologize that it is just an internal video for our staff, so I apologize for the narrator with a cold, the crooked tie, etc.
Again, thank you for this amazing gift. We will continue to update you on our progress.
Stephen H. Lockhart, MD,PhD
Regional Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
East Bay Region, Sutter Health