Guest post from PT Rachel Woodson: A remarkable moment for our PT and OT students and the student nurses of FSIL!

Rachel Woodson is a physical therapist and missionary from Arkansas.  She has been helping us a LOT by supervising the PT students on “Stage” or fieldwork, at the Hopital Ste Croix.  Ste Croix has never had rehabilitation services, in its 40 years.
Thank you Rachel for permission to share this!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Yo Kapab (they can)

Today was a special day, an amazing day. We are taking 8 students (3rd year PT and OT students) to the local “public” hospital this week and next. We have primarily worked with 4 patients during these two days. One patient is an older gentleman, we will call him Jean, whom suffered a gunshot wound. Following the students’ initial evaluation the patient was found to have no movement below the waist and post op abdominal surgery. The surgeon came in shortly after and kindly spoke with us about the patient. When he and I were talking he said to me “I don’t think he needs to be here (ortho floor) anymore, I think he should transfer to neuro bc maybe he has a spinal cord injury from the gunshot but we don’t know.” Long story short we went in and sat the patient as the edge of the bed for the first time after his surgery 10 days ago and he was a little dizzy and VERY weak. He had not moved fromlaying on his back, however the nurses had done a good job of preventing pressure sores/ulcers.

When we came in the next morning we were informed that the patient was being discharged. The family had not been taught ANYTHING. No positioning, no transfers, no catheter changes, no infection precautions. NOTHING. So we began to work with the students on educating the family and getting the family involved in transfers and planned to teach the family to transfer Jean to a wheelchair (even though they did not have the money to purchase one) and some other basic spinal cord injury education. We started to discuss it and they were talking about how surgeons get tunnel visioned on their one issue and will sometimes discharge patients not understanding everything. I voiced what he had said to me and then the ball started to roll….

The nurses called the doctor and he confirmed that he did feel he needed to be transferred to the neuro unit but that the doctor on call would have to make that decision. When the doctor arrived he “conferenced” with one of our PT students and a nursing student that had been fantastic in caring for the patient as well (the photo above). They advocated for the patient and the doctor AGREED that the patient should stay on the neuro unit. They also talked to the director and he interviewed the family to determine if they needed a wheelchair without paying. The option also came up for him to go to an inpatient rehab center, which is still in progress as to if that will happen.

I was amazed and started to tear up thinking how these students are changing this country starting with that man. They are doing it respectfully and dignified. They are doing it by working TOGETHER as a healthcare TEAM. They are doing it because they care about their patients. It is a long road ahead, but THEY ARE DOING IT!!! I was so proud to be part of FSRL/FSIL today. That man would have likely laid in a bed at his home, never moving, and had no quality of life if these students (PT/OT/nursing) were not there. He would have likely died in the next 3-6 months due to wound infection, pressure sores, pneumonia, or some other related illness secondary to his apparent spinal cord injury…. But now he will have some time and physical/occupational therapy to live a better quality and more dignified life. This profession of physical therapy that I get to call a job will always give me pride because I get to watch peoples lives change. Because I beleive that quality of life is as important to a person as actual life.

Today was refreshing and I am so excited to see rehab professions become a more common part of the healthcare team as it demonstrates progress in Haiti from pure survival to giving quality of life to the patient and family through respect, dignity, and improving independence.

Live Foolishly
Rachel

2 thoughts on “Guest post from PT Rachel Woodson: A remarkable moment for our PT and OT students and the student nurses of FSIL!

  1. Jeanne Smith says:

    Janet, This is a moving testament to the extraordinary value of the work you are doing and the wisdom and commitment of your wonderful students. They are assuring the whole person is cared for and they understand that people are more than just their parts that can be repaired. Fine work, gentle hands, and loving hearts.

    Like

  2. Thank you Jeanne! It was a wonderful proof-of-concept, just as you say, and a tribute to how well they are picking this all up and carrying it into practice. I am SO happy to have seen this! And happy to have you as a companion along the way!

    Like

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