Diaspora

Metro doctor says gang violence in Haiti threatening country's health care – KMBC Kansas City

Fundraiser ‘Hit for Haiti’ is set for Oct. 15 at Homestead Country Club
Fundraiser ‘Hit for Haiti’ is set for Oct. 15 at Homestead Country Club
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Fundraiser ‘Hit for Haiti’ is set for Oct. 15 at Homestead Country Club
A Johnson County, Kansas surgeon has been providing health care in Haiti for four decades. Now, he’s confronting a new kind of disease.
Haiti’s health hangs in the balance as gang violence and corruption run rampant.
Dr. Ted Higgins founded the Higgins Brothers Surgicenter for Hope in one of the poorest regions of the country.
“These gangs, they’re really, they’re metastasizing,” Higgins said.
That cancer is unlike any tumor Higgins has removed in his career.
“Many of our patients can’t get to our surgery and our clinics because of the gang problem and people die,” he said.
Seven miles over the Dominican border into Haiti is the region’s only 24/7 surgical trauma center. A staff of 70 doctors and nurses now risk their lives daily to save the lives of their patients.
“Two of them get out of the car and they point a gun on us,” said an anesthesiologist, who was recently kidnapped by a gang but later released.
Chief medical officer Dr. Peterson Thosiac was shot and robbed driving to the hospital from his home in Port-au-Prince, which is about an hour away.

“There’s been a great deal of turmoil in Haiti for quite some time,” Higgins said. “This is different. This is more severe than it’s ever been.”
Staff refuse to quit. Instead, they’re laying the foundation to keep going.
A new housing facility near the surgicenter will let staff avoid the dangerous trip back home for days or weeks at a time.
“It’s important for them to keep the doors open and provide an opportunity for patients to have care,” Higgins said.
Higgins said his staff wants to keep the clinic open.
There is a tennis and pickleball tournament benefitting the surgicenter in Haiti. “Hit for Haiti” is Oct. 15 at Homestead Country Club. The money raised will go toward patient care.

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