A Family’s Story

“I got a call at 6 o’clock last Thursday morning from a representative at Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), which runs a network of clinics throughout Haiti. They said they were desperate for IV fluids at one of their clinics in the Northwest of the country and if they did not get the fluids by Monday, people were going to die. He was sitting at our warehouse in Haiti when he called and I could tell he was desperate.

“Since we had just cleared four containers through customs, gotten them to our warehouse, and offered these products out via the online portal (the first time this had been used internationally) to 12 different groups (including CAM), I was able to call our warehouse manager and have him pull the products they ordered. This included about three pallets of IV fluids that were donated by Baxter. See the note below about what this meant to these patients.” —Andrew MacCalla, Haiti Program Operations Specialist

Dear Direct Relief:

It is with overwhelming gratitude that I write to express my appreciation for the IV fluids (lactated Ringer’s solution, 1000 ml) we received from you this past week.

We are using them exclusively for the treatment of cholera patients at our 22-bed makeshift facility in northwest Haiti. We are the only ones in our rural region providing care for cholera patients.  The nearest hospitals to us are 20-plus miles away, taking 2 ½ hours to reach by vehicle.  We received our first definite cholera patient on October 27 and have been caring for them ever since. So far we’ve had 180 patients hospitalized and over 430 others who have come for milder symptoms of cholera not requiring IV fluids. To this date we haven’t lost any patients.

So far, too, we’ve always had IV fluids with which to treat our patients. There have been many times we’ve almost run out, but in the nick of time have gotten more. Sometimes we’ve been down to our last 3 liters of fluids! This past week Direct Relief saved the day for us. I think we would have run out of fluids on Monday if it wasn’t for the 10 cases of fluid we received from you over the weekend.

Thanks a million!

Bethanie Burkholder, FNP
Christian Aid Ministries
LaSource, Commune de Baie de Henne
Northwest Haiti


Here are a few pictures of the beneficiaries of those fluids:

This is Emile Milhomme. I have no doubt that he would have died without IV fluids.


This is Emile’s 2½-year-old daughter, held by his wife. She came in last night with vomiting and diarrhea. That bag of IV fluid hanging above her is one of yours. And the boy on the right is Emile’s 7-year-old son. This family likely would have had at least two deaths—if not three—if it weren’t for IV therapy, made possible in part by Direct Relief. Emile was discharged today, but his children are still in-patient.

Rose Geurline is a 3-year-old who came today. Her family carried her about four hours before finally arriving at the clinic. By the time she arrived she was semiconscious and we couldn’t get a radial pulse on her. She was rag-doll floppy. It took several tries, but finally we were able to get an IV in a vein in her foot.

Within seconds the lactated Ringer’s solutions from Direct Relief were hooked up and flowing. Imagine my delight when two hours after initiation of IV fluids I found our recently semiconscious, floppy little 3-year-old sitting up and eating crackers – thanks to fluids from Direct Relief!