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Medical mission lands David Lehmann, MD, in Haiti for hurricane relief effort

Medical mission lands David Lehmann, MD, in Haiti for hurricane relief effort

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- David Lehmann, MD, PharmD, Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine at Upstate Medical University, is back in Syracuse from his trip to Haiti Oct. 21 to 29 as a member of an International Medical Relief (IMR) team following the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew that left nearly 176,000 people living in shelters. There, he provided medical care at outreach clinics in the rural areas surrounding Les Cayes, the epicenter of Haiti’s earthquake devastation.

“The contrast between the beauty of Haiti’s coast and our base camp was heartbreaking,” said Lehmann, professor of medicine and practicing internist, hospitalist and clinical pharmacologist. “It was as if a bomb exploded; houses were torn apart, trees were uprooted and families whose homes were destroyed by the hurricane were sitting, exposed to the elements.”

The team cared for 1,600 patients over the course of a week. The medical conditions of Lehmann’s patients ranged from presumptive cholera, seizure from neurocystercosis and lymphatic filiarisis, to infected wounds, stomach ailments, rashes, headaches and body aches, and ear, eye, and skin infections. Common medications were prepackaged and team members provided the medication and instructions at their stations.

According to Lehmann, some of the patients had never seen a doctor and many had walked for several hours to receive medical care. While at the clinic, patients also received instruction on proper hand washing techniques, basic hygiene, water purification, oral hygiene and oral rehydration.

IMR Team Leader Amy Jordheim credited Lehmann as “a wonderful teacher for everyone on the team--providing clear explanations of every condition with great patience...as a Doctor of Pharmacy, he has proved to be invaluable on this trip.”

At the clinic, Lehmann also provided medical training to Jameson Laurent, a second-year medical student from Les Cayes proper. On the final day of his trip, Lehmann presented Laurent with his Lippman stethoscope and Welch-Allyn diagnostic kit. As a result of Lehmann’s visit, St. Lucy’s Church in Syracuse has committed to fund the remainder of Laurent’s medical training to achieve his bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBBS) degree.

Lehmann has traveled the world sharing his expertise, serving as a practicing physician in Saipan, hospital pharmacy director in Kenya, and educator and consultant in the development of pharmacology curricula in Nepal and India.

Caption: David Lehmann, MD, PharmD, center, discusses a patient’s care with Haitian medical student Jameson Laurent, right, and an interpreter.