Floating Doctors, are they back from their voyage yet? - Page 5 - SailNet Community
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post #41 of 45 Old 05-21-2010
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I ran across this and was interested in what it was all about. I went back and read some of the other related posts and even went to their website.

Perhaps well intentioned, perhaps attention seeking - I agree with Motorboater, reported qualifications for such a mission are lacking. I think if they are providing clean water and sanitation - these are probably good things with little risk of harm. A little flashy maybe, but not likely to do any damage. If however, they are attempting to deliver medical care in an unsupervised setting, I am concerned. An intern fresh out of medical school requires close (sometimes very close) supervision. It's only through this on-the-job training called residency that we learn how not to kill people.

The practice of medicine is humbling. I hope that they will remember "first, do no harm"!
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post #42 of 45 Old 06-01-2010 Thread Starter
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Looks like the "Haiti" phase is coming to an end......

Dr. Ben certainly appears to be providing "drive by" medical aid. One Dr. and a bunch of pre-somethings are planning to head off to Honduras to continue providing "multi-skilled, highly adaptable relief team aboard a self-sufficient support platform that could use 21st Century medical technology, classical medical diagnostics and adaptability to different needs and resources to create long-term health benefits in developing world communities, making a difference one person at a time." The cameraman and Capt. Ryan Emberley appeared appear to have jumped ship. If Ryan Mc. can't find his immunization card looks likes he's out too, even though he has just arrived in Haiti.

Wonder what is going to happen to the medical needs of the people of Petit-Goave, once the boat departs. Maybe the long term NGO's that Dr. Ben dislikes so much will continue their work, flawed as it may be.

Mind you Clinica Esperanza looks like a much nicer place to save the world than Haiti. The diving is great. I expect to see the 'Southern Wind" languishing in the Rio Dulce in the not to distant future.

Hopefully the walls of the half finished schoolhouse will be recycled into shelters for families in the looming hurricane season.

In the interim if anyone wishes to contribute to sustainable medical aid please consider 'Partners in Health"

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Last edited by gtod25; 06-01-2010 at 10:22 AM.
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post #43 of 45 Old 06-19-2010
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Interesting thread here...

I just got back from my medical mission in Haiti where I worked closely with the Floating Doctors for a month at the Henri Desgranges Clinic in Petit Goave. I wanted to see what stories had been written about them and came across this blog. The administrator of the clinic brought me down to volunteer, and I was happy to meet Dr. Ben and the crew who showed me great hospitality and kindness.

The things I find most problematic about this thread are the comments about the Southern Wind's crew being ineffective in their work in Haiti. Having directly worked alongside them, I can say that they are working their asses off.

I was at the exact clinic in Petit Goave in March, before the F.D.'s arrived. The clinic was outdoors, seeing hundreds of patients a day with just two doctors and two EMTs. There were 6 different medications in our pharmacy to treat a host of infections and diseases. There was no record-keeping and no established way to track patient care.

I returned this May to find the clinic wholly changed to the credit of the FDs. Say what you want about their boat and their sailing knowledge, but Dr. Ben and the crew turned this clinic a complete 180. The clinic had been moved indoors, and had a magnificently stocked pharmacy, along with orthopedic equipment and other supplies.

A system was in place to track patient care and write prescriptions in way that could be communicated to future caregivers. A minor OR was established with all the tools and sterile equipment needed- about two minor surgeries were performed a day.

Lots of wild accusations on here about Dr. Ben’s credentials in Ireland. He is in fact an MD, much like the other doctors in Haiti from the Czech, Canada, France, Spain and other countries. One doesn’t need to be a US doctor to deliver healthcare… I honestly didn’t meet a single doctor in either of my trips to Haiti with an MD from the US, most are licensed in Europe. I don’t doubt their qualifications any more than I question Bens- although I am biased since he kept me healthy throughput my trip.

As for those of us not licensed to give medicine, we did not prescribe. There is plenty of work someone familiar with medicine can do within their paygrade. For example, I triaged patients, asking questions in Creole to tease out symptoms that Ben could then diagnose. (Ben picked up Creole incredibly fast and didn’t use a translator!) The other students and medical professionals without an MD did other tasks like filling prescriptions or helping Ben write out paperwork while he interviewed the patients.

I barely recognized the smooth-running clinic that had been revamped by Ben and the crew.

Of course, not every case could be treated at the clinic. For severe illness and injury, referrals were made to the Red Cross hospital. With these patients, we had to send antibiotics and other drugs with them because the clinicians dispensed drugs irregularly due to an unreliably stocked pharmacy.

As for the schoolhouses, I chuckled when I read about it being unfinished... The schools are indeed finished. The students and teachers had already moved the blackboards and desks inside them and were teaching by the time I left on June 16. Noah and Nick Larson did a great job working alongside Haitian volunteers building them. During my time in Petit Goave, these schoolhouses were the only structures I had seen built.

I understand the criticism, and it’s good and appropriate to hold NGOs like the Floating Doctors accountable for their actions and operations. Having said that, it is entirely different to flame the FDs with wild accusations of hurting Haitians, or being unqualified, or leaving the schools unfinished, or even that Ryan Mc has to leave because he didn’t have his immunization card (he’ll be just fine without it).

These guys are working hard as hell, and doing great work. Before they leave Haiti for another country in crippling poverty, Dr. Ben and the crew have ensured that the clinic is up and running exponentially better than they found it. Now, instead of foreign doctors, the clinic has hired a Haitian MD, Haitian nurses, and Haitian pharmacists. More important than the thousands of patients Dr. Ben has seen is the assistance and guidance they provided to make the clinic self-sustainable.

I hope that this post clears up some questions and concerns from the point of view of someone not in the FDs, but who worked directly alongside them. If you’d prefer to donate to Partner in Health, please do- they’re an excellent organization (I’m a huge fan of Paul Farmer!), but the Floating Doctors have done an excellent job in Haiti as well, and I look forward to hearing about their next mission.
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post #44 of 45 Old 06-19-2010
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The problem, Tom, is that in any web community (such as Sailnet) there is a lack of credibility when someone drops in and makes one post, and has no previous track record in the community.

That's compounded here by the fact that Google only finds three listings for the "Desgranges Clinic" and those break down into one ghost or bogus page that no longer lists anything about the clinic (which is the top listing!) and then your own self-published page, and your college newspaper talking about your trip.

It all comes down to "some guy named Tom says" and we don't know who Tom is, or if perhaps Tom is a great guy who got the wool pulled over his eyes.

The IRS has no record of ay registered "Desgranges Foundation" which your articles seem to indicate is either the sponsor of the clinic, or is the clinic under another name. When there's no record of a non-profit foundation, that also erodes credibility, as it also ensures that no one can ask "Well, just how did they use that money?"

And again, "Partner in Health" has no listing with the IRS either. That could just mean they're brand new, but it doesn't establish credibility or credentials. There is a "Partners in Health Hampden ME " listed, among many organizations that use that phrase (Partners, plural) in their name though. Typo?

Floating Doctors, Inc. of CA is also listed, so their balance sheet should have been available from the Governator's people. Except, Floating Doctors appears to have been negligent about filing ANYTHING with anyone. Haven't keep up their registration, either. Nothing on file.

Which was the root of the thread. Not whether or if the Floating Doctors exist or are trying to do something good, but rather, are they having a fine time while consuming more of the donations than need to be consumed?

That there are apparently no web references, no news citations, about the Clinic or Foundation other than yours...again, doesn't mean anything for certain but forces an eyebrow to be raised and a question to be asked.

Such as, couldn't more resources have been better used by simply having everyone volunteer for one of the many established organizations that were already on scene well before them?

Last edited by hellosailor; 06-19-2010 at 02:17 PM.
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post #45 of 45 Old 09-22-2010 Thread Starter
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Floating Doctors still saving the world in the Bay Islands....

Or at least the Good Doc., his sister (NMQ) and the sisters boyfriend (NMQ) (with possibly an engineer guy (NMQ) thrown in). (NMQ = Not medically qualified).

Floating Doctors | Facebook

If you haven't been there the Bay Islands are a great place to visit. Cayos Cochinos is a National Park with a Garifuna community.

Dr. Ben will need to recruit more crew and get a move on if he hopes to hit Tonga, French Polynesia and the Cook islands before the end of 2011 AND be back to write his book and appear on Oprah.

Me, I'm just keeping an eye on the possible sale of some of the donated items (especially the water-maker) and contributing to Partners in Health
, an NGO that has a proven record in helping people.

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