During clinic Dr. Scott Barnes had three patients on October 23rd, two patients on the 24th and one patient today that had advanced disease that had not been cared for and not treatable. This is a fairly common situation in Haiti because the people are poor and can’t afford the treatment, there aren’t many physicians and the hospitals and clinics lack modern equipment to help them diagnose early stages of cancer.
The patients and the families have to be told of the situation and to let them know that surgery in addition to other therapies are not an option. Dr. Barnes feels that honesty and being forthright with the family and the patient is always the best option because sooner or later they will always know they have been deceived when their family is dying.
Dr. Barnes spent time talking to the patients and families and told them to spend time together and share whatever they feel is appropriate with each other. The reaction of the patient is usually confirmational, they know they are dying. The reaction of the family is shock. The Haitian people accept in a very short time the severity of the disease but also embrace the need to care for their loved one. Dr. Barnes saw the Haitian people moving forward quickly and positively towards acceptance exhibiting a great deal of integrity. They were very grateful in the face of adversity and thankful that he spent time to honestly explain the situation. After they left the clinic, they returned later to thank him again. Another measure of their gratitude.