Fox Chase Cancer Center Nurses in Haiti

PHILADELPHIA (June 4, 2018) – In addition to their duties caring for patients, many Fox Chase Cancer Center staff volunteer their time to those most in need. Recently, two nurses and a doctor made a volunteer medical trip to Haiti, where they provided an array of medical services to those in desperate need of care. For a week, a group of seven individuals including an occupational therapist, a special needs teacher, and five nurses - including Nicole Seeley and Sandi Wetherbee from Fox Chase - provided mobile medical clinics in Onaville, a town outside of Port-Au-Prince that was established for displaced people who had lost everything in the 2010 earthquake. The group went through the organization iTOT, which is a Christian non-profit organization that provides medical and therapeutic treatment to people in developing nations.

Fox Chase Cancer Center nurses, Nicole Seeley and Sandi Wetherbee, with patient at medical clinic in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti
Fox Chase Cancer Center nurses, Nicole Seeley and Sandi Wetherbee, with patient at medical clinic in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

They also provided two days of mobile clinics in one of Port-Au-Prince's poorest areas, City Soleil. The people they saw in all locations were desperate for care.

“It was quite a different way of nursing for us, and very eye-opening. The majority of patients we saw were suffering from infections, the likely culprit being no access to clean water- skin infections, postpartum infections, UTIs and eye infections- plus a lot of gastrointestinal worms, undiagnosed/uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes, and wounds,” said Seeley.

The nurses spent two additional days caring for children recently rescued from slavery, who had been reported as stolen from their families, and ultimately brought into an orphanage. They treated a scabies outbreak there and performed eye exams and distributed reading glasses as needed.

“Mostly we just loved and played with the amazing kids there,” said Seeley.

 Another day was spent helping in a special needs classroom for children with mental and physical disabilities- which is an extremely rare service in Haiti, and performing a baby check clinic, where they did well checks for babies whose mothers travelled miles on foot to bring their babies to be seen.

Coincidentally, on their plane ride home, they met Philip Abbosh, MD, PhD, a urologic oncologist at Fox Chase. He had been in Haiti training urology surgeons.

“All along the way, we brought with us the compassionate care we've learned to give at Fox Chase and made sure the people we saw in Haiti knew that no matter their condition, no matter where they live, no matter how clean or dirty they are, no matter what disasters they've suffered through or how much they've lost, we have not forgotten or given up on them, and there is still hope- all principles of the exceptional nursing care at Fox Chase,” said Seeley.



Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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