Dr. Kevin Boyd, a physician at OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center, and a team of medical experts provided medical care for about 3,000 people during a recent mission trip to Haiti.
Dr. Kevin Boyd, a physician at OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center, got the opportunity recently to do mission work in Haiti and set up a clinic to provide medical care there.
Boyd said he had tossed the idea around for a while after a patient suggested he take the trip.
“I’ve traveled all over the world, but this was my first time on a medical mission,” Boyd said. “It was a lot of fun. I had a great time.”
The lessons Boyd learned through his adventures in Haiti were brought back to Alton.
“They’re extremely poor (in Haiti), but I think they’re happier than we are,” Boyd said, adding that people in Haiti seemed a lot less anxious.
He explained that although the urban areas, especially Port-au-Prince, where his group’s plane landed, were extremely dangerous, the rural areas had a sense of community that kept everybody safe.
“The kids played unsupervised until late at night,” Boyd said. “It was very safe for them. People in the countryside were a lot friendlier.”
Although Boyd’s time in Port-au-Prince was very short, Boyd said it was frightening.
“It’s a very dangerous place,” Boyd said.
He said as soon as the plane landed, the team was taken out of Port-au-Prince.
“We got out of town as quickly as we could,” Boyd said.
They stayed in Lecayse for their mission work. Boyd said the group set up a clinic in a local church there. Boyd and the team performed general medicine and surgery while they were there, and Boyd said in 3 1/2 days their team helped care for 3,000 people.
Boyd said the most common issues he cared for in Haiti were arthritis, high blood pressure and cholera. He attributed the high rates of cholera to citizens swimming and washing clothes in polluted rivers.
The differences in medicine and medical care between Haiti and the United States are vast, Boyd said.
“We have very good medical care here in the U.S.,” Boyd said. He explained that in the United States, we do a lot of tests for common diseases. In Haiti, he said they had very few resources and were able to fully treat patients.
Boyd said upon returning from Haiti, he has a refreshed outlook on life.
“I’ve been a lot happier since I got back,” Boyd said. “I feel like I’ve done something for God, and I see myself as more of a doctor now. I’ve been to a place where I could really help people.”
Other people on the trip who Boyd mentioned were Linda Spencer, who ran the pharmacy, Christine Chiakowski and Linda Brown. He also said he would like to thank Kamp’s Drug Store in Wood River and OSF Saint Anthony’s Hospital, as well as everybody who donated medicine and supplies.
Boyd said he is glad he finally made the decision to go on a medical mission.
“If you have faith and you don’t do something about it, it’s not worth it,” Boyd said.
Boyd is hoping to make this mission a yearly trip, and said if anyone is interested in joining, he can be reached at (618) 465-8019. Medical experience would be helpful, Boyd said.