Dr. Henri Ford
A Children’s Hospital Los Angeles donation of $326,102 in reusable pediatric medical equipment, supplies and hospital room furniture has arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and will be disbursed to regional hospitals to help the Caribbean country’s ongoing efforts to recover from the devastating 7.0 earthquake that ravaged the island nation three years ago this Saturday.
“This represents a generous donation of specialized medical equipment, hospital bed frames, cribs, pediatric ventilators, incubator warmers and other supplies that are in short supply and badly needed in Haiti. The hospitalized children will benefit greatly,” says Dr. Henri Ford, the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles surgeon-in-chief who is traveling to his native country later this month to help oversee the distribution of the more than 650 items to Hopital Bernard Mevs-Project Medishare and the General Hospital (Hopital de l‘Universite d’Etat d’Haiti). “Haiti’s recovery from the earthquake has been long and arduous and while this is a small contribution in the larger context of the country’s needs, every bit helps.”
The equipment and furniture had been in storage since the summer of 2011, when Children’s Hospital Los Angeles vacated its old building on Sunset Boulevard and moved into the new 317-bed Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion next door. Much of the existing furniture and supplies moved with the patients to the new Anderson Pavilion, but many items typically designated for salvage in such moves was deemed unusable in the new facility, or elsewhere at the hospital, but still in workable condition, says Elizabeth Cochran, associate vice president of Construction, Design and Facilities at Children’s. She said hospital administrators hosted Haitian health officials to review the donation prior to shipping the goods, which filled six cargo containers. The contribution enabled the hospital to save money on disposal into the environment and salvage costs, while helping a country in need.
Late last year, King Office Services prepared the medical products for shipping and loaded the goods onto trucks directed by the Miami, Fla.-based Air-Sea Fowarders, Inc., which arranged the transport of the containers from the hospital to the Port of Los Angeles. There, the containers were put on a freighter for passage to Haiti. The effort was also aided by Project Medishare for Haiti, a non-governmental organization based at the University of Miami Global Institute, which has been dedicated to providing comprehensive health and development services and building capacity in Haiti for more than 20 years. To distribute the medical equipment and supplies, Dr. Ford will be working with the chief of surgery from General Hospital and also the directors of Hopital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare.
The items included:
60 hospital beds
118 bedside nightstand tables
47 over-bed tables
31 parent sleeper chairs
6 medical scales
61 cardiac monitors
88 linen Hampers
10 pediatric Ventilators
24 incubator warmers
1 portable exam light,
23 I.V. Pumps with poles
1 exam table
17 anesthesia carts
1 wheel chair
1 motorized wheel chair
125 typical office chairs
30 task chairs
Various medical Supplies
Dr. Henri Ford, MD, vice president and surgeon-in-chief at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, returns to Haiti several times annually to perform complex surgeries on pediatric patients, lecture to medical students and work with the Deans of the Haitian medical schools to reform medical education and training in his native country. Dr Ford is also playing a key role on the board of directors of a new teaching hospital in Haiti, the recently completed “Hopital Universitaire de Mirebalais,” which is expected to open to inpatients later this year. “We want to set a course of excellence, reminiscent of great teaching hospitals in the U.S.,” Ford says. “We need one great academic health center in Haiti, and we have to make sure it succeeds. Ultimately, our hope is to replicate this approach elsewhere in the country to meet the health needs of the Haitian people.”
Dr. Ford has also set up clinics and other medical programs, working side by side with Haitian surgeons at Hopital Bernard Mevs Project Medishare, training them in pediatric surgical techniques so they can continue to provide appropriate surgical care to children after he returns to the U.S., where in addition to his duties at Children’s Hospital, he serves as professor of Surgery and vice dean for Medical Education at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
For the University Hospital at Mirebalais, Dr. Ford is charged with helping organize the board of directors and establishing best surgical practices and trauma care protocol, as well as training and recruiting doctors to staff the facility. His recent election to the American College of Surgeons Board of Regents should facilitate this role.
He says the medical facilities and training are essential to successfully treat Haitian children – Haiti just has two pediatric surgeons for a country of 10 million people, and nearly half the total population is 15 years old or younger.
The University Hospital at Mirebalais is collaboration between the Haitian government and Partners In Health, with the plan to turn over the hospital to the government within 10 years. Ford says the hospital board will comprise a mix of medical specialists and officials, including Haiti’s minister of health, officials from U.S. academic health centers, Haitian business leaders, and prominent Haitian physicians. He is also working with the Deans of Haiti’s four medical schools to promote much needed reform in medical education and training. The project has been moving rather slowly. “Progress in Haiti is measured in micrometers, but I have decided I can never give up, because if I do, medical education will remain antiquated,” he says.
Dr. Ford left his country at age 13 when his family settled in Brooklyn. Ford graduated from John Jay High, then went to Princeton for his undergraduate studies, and Harvard Medical School for his MD. His brothers, Jean and Billy, also became physicians. All three were involved in the medical relief effort after the quake and Dr. Ford has continued his work there.
About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital in California and among the top five in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious US News & World Report Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children’s Hospital is also one of America’s premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.