‘Please Don’t Bring Her Back. Too Much Shooting On Our Street’

Dispatches from Haiti: Health care, visas, hope and desperation.

By John Carroll 13 Feb 2018 | TheTyee.ca

Dr. John Carroll is an internist from West Peoria, IL, who spends two to four months a year providing medical care in Haiti. He’s the founder of Haitian Hearts, a non-profit providing care in Haiti and treatment in the U.S. when needed by patients.

[Editor’s note: I first became aware of Dr. John Carroll when I started blogging about the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti. Carroll was already an old Haiti hand; his first medical work trip to Haiti was in 1981 and he’d been working in the country for a few months a year since the 1990s.

He’s the founder of Haitian Hearts, through which he works in Haitian hospitals, clinics and orphanages. The non-profit has arranged for more than 200 patients to go to the U.S. for heart surgery and other medical care unavailable in the country.

In his own blog, Dispatches from Haiti in the Peoria, IL, Journal Star, Carroll describes the sorrows and beauties of Haiti, illustrated with his own remarkable photographs.

— Crawford Kilian, Contributing Editor ]

In ICU with lines and tubes and catheters. Sixteen years old and all bones. Her sternum split down the middle with a saw and tethered back together with wires. Dr. John, don’t send me back to Haiti. Are you having pain? No. But please don’t send me back.


The pistol lies on the right leg of the driver. Close to his right hand. We are in a hurry, and the street is crowded and so we drive up on the sidewalk, dispersing people in every direction. Angry faces appear in my passenger window, but with a grasp of the gun handle everyone disappears. She is 24 years old and heavy for me to carry into the Consulate. Her left side is dragging and dead. Embolus from heart went to her brain. Visa granted in record 10 minutes. We are at the airport in an hour and in the States in three.


He has many friends in Haiti waiting for him. He must go back after his heart surgery. Actually, he has NO friends in Haiti. His parents are gone and his grandfather just died. But his host family is desperate. Please take him back. He must go back. Please save us!


Please don’t bring her back. Too much shooting on our street. Not good for her heart. My heart rips apart. What must she feel?


Children’s Hospital of Illinois CEO contacts American Embassy in Port-au-Prince and creates confusion. Consulate official has tears in her eyes. She understands Haitian children will now die. Is this part of your Sisters’ Mission in Peoria? I have no answers.


She is a corrected Tetralogy of Fallot and looks great. Please take her with you when you go. There is too much dust and dirt in the air here for her heart. Heart surgery good. Port-au-Prince bad.


I am living in the Montreal Olympic Stadium now. Not bad. For me. How are you and your family?


In Haitian Immigrations at the Papa Doc International Airport. Aren’t you glad you came back? She looks at me and says nothing. But I don’t forget her look. And she is gone in six months. Thanks for all you did for my daughter, Dr. John.


The 24-year-old gal from Pele. Awakens from anesthesia and pronounces — Thank you, All. I am like Lazarus being raised from the dead. I will leave now.


There she is. You told me to bring her for her visa. So there she is. Carrying her down Delmas 19 was terribly difficult. Now she is laying on the floor of your Consulate. But you are not looking at her. How do you know it is she? Why did you want me to bring her when you don’t even look at her face? Don’t look at me and give me a lecture on visas. Look at HER face.


You will never get them out of here without my permission said the Haitian doctor as he counted his American dollars and called his travel agent for reservations for his flight to the AMA meeting. We storm out of his pathetic office, get the visas, and are on the plane the next morning.


We can’t find his passport. But I just gave it to you. Sorry it is gone. Sorry he will be gone unless you find his passport. He has a very bad heart. I sit on the American Airlines counter and block anyone else from checking into any flight. A drunk man brings passport from airport restaurant. We are good to go.


Never hold a mother’s baby when mother says she will be right back. You will never see her again and the baby will be yours.


The hospital administrator stops me on the back steps. Can you get me a visa out of here?


Haitian Customs at the airport asks me where are their birth certificates? They don’t need them I answer. You MUST know that. Here are their visas in their passports. Haitian Customs says no. I grab the passports out of his hand. I push through the line and my two friends hold four sick kids and I tell them not to move. I carry the blind baby in my left arm and have the passports in my right hand. The airport administrator listens to my story with a cigarette hanging off his lips. He looks at the blind baby, shakes his head, and tells the Haitian National Police to let us get on the plane.


She gets in my face and scolds me at Haitian airport. You have no right to be taking the kids out of here. She is mulatto and has a big brown purse. The migraine scotoma was descending on me and I could only see half of her. But the half I could see told me she and others of her ilk control all of Haiti. I was too weak to answer her.


“Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out,” Trump said, according to sources. Why do Haitians need more consideration?  [Tyee]

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