HAA Transport Saves Pregnant Woman
Pregnancy is a joy that women everywhere in the world can share in. The gift of life transcends nationality, social standing and race. But the usual challenges of keeping mom and baby healthy are made all the more difficult when access to medical care is far from reach.
“Anabelle” was just one month from giving birth to her baby girl when pre-eclampsia set in. The condition effects women with more than just abdominal pain and headaches—it’s a complication that includes high blood pressure and damage to vital organs like kidneys. Left untreated, pre-eclampsia can be fatal for both the mother and unborn child.
Artibonite is Haiti’s largest department with a population of nearly 2 million. Still, it’s almost a full day drive from Port-au-Prince to some of its villages. And the remoteness has an effect on access to medical care, especially for pregnant women.
When the pain first set in, Anabelle found her way to the clinic in Medor in the central mountainous region of Artibonite, where she was stabilized. But the medical
team there were lacking the specialty care givers and laboratory diagnostics to identify the severity of the complication And pharmaceutical interventions, like IV fluids, were not available.
Dr. Sue Carlson called the Haiti Air Ambulance hotline and informed the HAA team of Anabelle’s condition. Medical Director Dr. Jerry Chandler, EMT Jacquelin Petit, volunteer flight nurse Carson Gibson and pilot Vincent Arnold sprang into action. Within minutes, they were taking-off in HAA’s fully equipped Bell 407 helicopter. 28 minutes later, they landed in the village of Medor— saving this patient a trip that would have taken 6 hours by car…. And her life.
After receiving their update from Sister Philemise and her team at Medor, the HAA crew loaded Anabelle into the helicopter and delivered her to Hopital Universitaire Mirebalais where a state-of-the-art maternity ward was ready to receive her. The care, monitoring, vital IV fluids and pharmaceuticals the HAA team administered to her en route ensured Anabelle arrived at the hospital in a stable condition, enhancing her chances—and baby’s—for a successful recovery.
Like many patients, Anabelle does not have health insurance. And the flight cost thousands of dollars, more money than she could possibly earn in five years of full time work. But the flight and care she received from HAA were funded in part by private donations pledged to the non-profit.
Gibson’s philanthropic dedication to his service as a flight nurse also played a vital role. He committed to volunteer for 7 days in the month of May because “Over many years, I have acquired talents to help others. Haiti Air Ambulance offered a tremendous opportunity for me to bring those talents to people in significant need.” He used his vacation days and his own funds to participate and experience “modern delivery of health care in a slowly developing country. I encourage anyone to join HAA for a week or two. It is a mission you will surely put at the top of your list of accomplishments.” When he goes home to Virginia to resume working as a flight nurse at the Carillion Life-Guard Program , the thing he’ll tell his family and friends about most is how Anabelle “responded with such gratitude for what we did for her. She recognized just how much we cared about her. She was relieved” when she arrived at Mirebalais.
Like Gibson, HAA volunteers are professionals who regularly administer critical care to patients by air and ground. HAA is the first and only helicopter EMS service in the country of Haiti, built to the highest international standards of our industry.