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In This Issue:
Nadia Raymond, RN, finds herself unable to leave the hospital where she is caring for patients in Haiti after her shift is done.
“I feel there is so much more to do, and I pray that I can touch each patient and family member in a special way,” said Raymond, of the BWH ICU Float Pool, who arrived in Cange, Haiti, with a BWH and Partners In Health (PIH) relief group last week.
It is the first time Raymond has returned to her native Haiti in about 12 years.
Despite mixed emotions about returning to a country so drastically changed, Raymond didn’t hesitate to sign up as a volunteer.
“I had to do it,” said the Port-au-Prince native, who learned that her sisters and cousins who live in the capital city are safe, although their homes destroyed. “As soon as the earthquake happened, I wanted to be there on that first day.”
In Cange, Raymond is stationed at a church converted into a hospital to care for adults and patients with fractures, amputations and spinal injuries from the earthquake.
“I am truly blessed that I am able to help a mother who has lost her children through her grief while still keeping up with her nursing care,” said Raymond, a nurse known for her compassion and expertise in critical care throughout BWH’s intensive care units. “We are happily wearing many hats: comforter, supporter, social worker, teacher, physical therapist and nutritionist.”
Raymond also wears another important hat: interpreter. She is the only Haitian-Creole-speaking nurse in her area of the hospital right now. Interpreting, in many ways, brings her back to her roots in Haiti. As a teenager there, she interpreted for PIH founders Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, and Jim Kim, MD, PhD, when they were just beginning to provide medical care in Haiti. Her sisters now work at the PIH medical facility in Cange.
Though she may see relatives while she is there, Raymond reminds her family members that she is not there for a visit. “First and foremost, I am there to provide medical care,” she said.
A mother of three herself, Raymond is taking special care of a five-year-old boy who has lost his mother in the earthquake and clings to his father for comfort.
“People in Haiti are resilient, supportive of each other and very hard-working,” she said, noting that she appreciates the warm breeze and star-filled sky that nighttime brings to Cange. “They have a lot of love but also a lot of heartache and pain.”