Thursday, January 28, 2010


Teamwork- taking turns monitoring Baby Frantz.
Good Afternoon,

The soft Caribbean breeze is against my skin, the waves forcefully crash against the rocks, the Canadian flag waves proudly from the pole that is centered at the Task Force campground and port of Jacmel. Our team is exhausted.

Anesthesia providers, surgeons, med-peds attendings and an enthusiastic medical student have outlasted their Canadian counterparts. Captain Joiner turns to retire at 200AM in anticipation for meeting tomorrow's challenges. Before she left our presence she removed her helmet and body armor to ask about our tiny patient. For the first time  tears of concern are now visibly rolling down her face as she realizes the power of compassion and the innate ability that this little one is displaying in his quest for survival. The Captain also feels helpless because she does not have the resources to help us evacuate this unfortunate child. This is clearly too much for her to handle and our guardian angel states, "You all are incredible, eh!"

She quietly walks away.

All is quiet now and the heat is taking its toll on all of us. Even at 5:00AM the humidity is sweltering. We had run out of options. Baby Frantz might die in the morning because of our lack of adequate oxygen supply and his continued desaturations and pulmonary dysfunction.

(Pictured Above: The anesthesia machine and even a monitor we were able to salvage from the structurally weakened operating room.)

We were once again dejected and praying for the safety of this child.

But you know what?


At 830AM,  January 27th, 2010, one Colonel Paulette Schank, an anesthesiologist, career soldier and Christian mother of two children who graduated from Abington Senior High School in Pennsylvania (coincidentally, my alma mater) pulled off the impossible.

Out of the sky descended a newly established "angel"- a medivac helicopter from the USS Comfort. While our US military did not have any presence in Jacmel the entire time we were there, they did not abandon us in our time of need. Another sign from Our Heavenly Father and the fact that He is in control. He has NEVER let us down.
Not now and not ever.

Baby Frantz and his parents are now safe as we delivered the Future of Mother Haiti in our makeshift incubator.  In an instant I think of all of my blog entry titles.

Mother Haiti Will Live On.

Enough said.

We are in the Dominican Republic. God grant us safe passage home.


Dr. Steven A. Johnson
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Anonymous said...

Our God is an awesome God!

Yesterday I was on an emotional rollercoaster. After losing contact with you at 12:30 am and realizing you were not going to leave Frantz, I was not sure exactly when you might resurface.

At your request, I reached out to my sister to seek the name of any military contact she might have that would assist with getting Frantz the help he needed......and then you were gone.

There was at least one thing I knew for sure, when you said failure was not an option, I knew you meant it!

Baby Frantz, his family, the people of Haiti, your co-workers, missonary team, friends,family, neighbors and I have been touched by your actions and this blog in a multitude of ways.

Some will have a better appreciation for Haiti and its Earthquake related suffering. Others will choose to dig a little deeper and learn about Haiti's history. There will be those who choose a career in healthcare or opt to become a missionary. Many will act on their desires to do something more purposeful in life. A child may be adopted. Either way Steve, you have caused lives to change forever for the better.

Antar, a special thanks to you for stepping up to be Steve's IT guy. With your assistance, we were with Steve, peeking in on every operation. We saw "the water" and we cried. We grimaced and smiled. We routed for the team. We formed a united front and stood up to the French. We heard Roland's laugh. We even tasted the oatmeal.

My girls and I thank you, Antar and the Delaware News Journal for doing your part to keep us well informed while our precious husband/daddy was offshore doing God's work.

To everyone, Steve and I wish to thank you for taking time out of your lives to read his blog, for responding with encouraging words, for keeping Steve, his team and the people of Haiti in prayer.

I personally appreciated the phone calls, the voicemail and text messages. All of your generous offers, kind gestures and heartfelt words have been shared with Steve. Because he knew we were left in loving hands, he was able to be that much more effective caring for those who needed him more than we did for that week.

Wow! what a week it has been. Continue to pray for Steve's safe return as one more leg of his journey remains.

Although we have now departed the shores of Haiti, let us not forget what remains. If necessary, revisit the blog and keep the images fresh in your minds. They need us to make changes in our lives so that we may help to change theirs.

I look forward to my husband's return with mixed emotions. We can not wait to lay eyes on him and physically touch him. We are excited about our family being complete again. Yet we regain our loved one and resume our lives (with some exceptions)while the people of Haiti, who are in need of so much, will lose (at least for the short term) one of the best Trauma Surgeons our country has to offer.

Again, many thanks to all. Steve, if it is God's will,we will see you soon. Stay safe and God Bless.

Your wife.

Anonymous said...

He is and Awesome God!!

You and your team have touched many in Haiti this past week. Not only the patients you treated, but the men, women, boys and girls, who watched you (and my amazing husband) selfeshly help them in their time of need. They have seen a brighter future now, hope, love, compassion. All because of your Delaware Team.

Your Blog helped bring the emotions of Haiti home to us, your frustrations, heartache, joys, simple pleasures and all the miracles God afforded you while you were doing his work. Thank you for allowing us on this journey with you. These resilient people of Haiti will live on in our hearts for along time to come, thanks to you.

Safe Journey Home!!

Dyan Stevenson

jenn said...

Dr.Johnson, how can I or anyone else thank you enough for sharing your wonderful talents with the people of Haiti?
You know that saying about how to the world you may be one person, but to one person you are the world? You and your team of volunteers have been the world.
Imagine how baby Frantz will tell his own children the story of the American doctors who saved his life.
And how your own daughters have learned what compassion really looks like...
Thank you, and safe passage home...
Jenn Boileau (Jess Best's sister)

Anonymous said...

Dr. J, you are AWESOME. I agree with your wife,you are one of the best Trauma Surgeons our country has to offer. I just want to thank you for sharing your experience in Mother Haiti with us. You have changed lives and rebuilt families. We here in the OR, are so proud of you, you were the talk of the lunch table all week. Thank GOD for doctors like you. You are a wonderful man, your family is lucky to have you. Get home same be blessed.

T. (OR)

Anonymous said...

From the tears and heartache to the revitalization and joy... we felt it. Your words were as powerful as your strength and compassion. I truly thank you for sharing your journey and raising the awareness of the Haitian devastation. I, like many others am proud to just to be able to say that I know you. You lead by example and have shown the world your ability to heal and love.

You touch the lives of so many people everyday; A touch that far exceeds the operating room. Your acts of kindness never go unnoticed... and your Faith is an inspiration to all, It is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich, and you my friend are one of the richest men I know.

I remember well, an elderly patient who came to the office for a post operative appointment. While checking in, she told me your face was the first thing she saw when she awoke from the anesthesia and that you were so handsome that she thought she saw JESUS... we all had a laugh and in fact you were embarrassed by this... Little did she know that the man she deemed holy by his appearance alone was just as beautiful on the inside and that you are indeed one of GODS instruments delivering his children from the suffering they have had to endure. Thank you for all you have done and all you have yet to do......

Love and Prayers,
Rene Adams