Philly neonatologist heads to Haiti

    Dr. Yanick Vibert (center) and medical colleagues in Haiti (click to enlarge).

    A doctor from St. Christopher’s Hospital is headed to Haiti soon and in the next year, she’s planning to make a monthly sojourn from Philadelphia to Port-au-Prince.

    Dr. Yanick Vibert is a first generation American; both her parents were born in Haiti. She first visited the island as a medical student.

    Vibert: You know through the media that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, but to actually see it, and to see people who look like me suffering, I had a softness in my heart for it.

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    Today she’s a neonatologist and will help launch a specialty-care nursery at The Hospital of Pere Damien.

    It won’t be a neonatal intensive care unit like she’s used to; the hospital doesn’t have the blood gas machines or ventilators Vibert relies on at St. Christopher’s, but she’ll work with Haitian colleagues make the most of the resources they do have.

    Vibert says many of the infants she could save in Philadelphia won’t make it in Haiti.

    As a medical student Dr. Yanick Vibert cared for HIV-positive patients in the slums of Haiti.Vibert: Really survival of the fittest, if the baby needs that type of intervention. Well, there’s nothing much that can be done. They don’t have that over there. Where as here we are able to hands on help that baby get to the next level.

    St. Christopher’s has allowed her to set aside some patient duties, so Vibert will spend a week in Haiti each month over the next year.

    Vibert hasn’t been back to Haiti since this year’s earthquake.

    Vibert: I’ve been warned and told that things are the worst that they have been in a very long time. Just people everywhere. So something as simple as a cut, if you haven’t been receiving the nourishment that you need it can take longer for that to heal. But I know whatever it is, I’m going to be able to handle it, definitely.

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