On October 4, 2016, Category 4 Hurricane Matthew tore through the remote village of Dame Marie in the Caribbean nation of Haiti. Dr. Michael Bourke of Woodland Women’s Health Associates, a Women’s Health CT practice, witnessed the devastation first-hand.
On October 4, 2016, Category 4 Hurricane Matthew tore through the remote village of Dame Marie in the Caribbean nation of Haiti. For a day and a half, the area was battered by torrential rain and 140 mph winds. A 30 foot storm surge pounded the coastline, leaving residents without electricity or communications. Farms and livestock were wiped out and livelihoods were destroyed.
Dr. Michael Bourke of Woodland Women’s Health Associates, a Women’s Health CT practice, witnessed the devastation first-hand. Dr. Bourke is the Medical Director for Medical Aid to Haiti (MATH) Dame Marie, a volunteer organization that helps Haitians heal Haitians by operating a mobile clinic in the poor communities around Port-Au-Prince. MATH also sponsors medical teams from the US who travel to Haiti to collaborate with the local providers. Dr. Bourke has been on several of these missions, including this past November.
With a team of only nine medical professionals instead of the usual 16, Dr. Bourke and the others saw over 150 patients, performed 18 surgeries, and assisted with multiple obstetrical emergencies. The community hospital where the team normally operates, Hopital de la Communaute Dame-Marienne, became a relief center in the wake of the storm. Conditions were not ideal, but “seeing what everyone had lost in the village made any hardships we had to endure seem very, very minor.”
“For weeks after the hurricane,” says Bourke, "our November team encountered villagers under starvation conditions, an increase in the outbreak of cholera and the probability of no electricity for up to two years.” The Dame Marie community is still recovering from the effects of the storm, but Dr. Bourke and the full medical team plan to return to Haiti in February 2017 to continue their mission.
Learn more about Dr. Bourke and MATH:
Dr. Michael Bourke, Physician on a Mission
MATH: Who We Are