Impressive Encounter with an autistic Boy

by Hanns-Georg Heidecker/RBU, 2010/03/19

Actually, Dr Hanns-Georg Heidecker is a radiologist. Since the middle of February he has been in Haiti in the framework of a humedica mission. However, he is not practising his profession as a doctor, but he is working as medical coordinator. His work is focussed on planning and realising a mobile workshop for prosthetics. In this report he describes what else he does to support the mission.

“At the weekly meeting of ambassadors I got to know Mr and Mrs Bernardin, who are both doctors. They asked me for drugs for their hospital which is located in the borough of Pakos and at which several hundred patients from the adjoining slums are being treated.

The hospital itself is located in a rather well-off borough of Port-au-Prince, which is only partly affected by the devastation: some houses and property walls have collapsed completely, other look like they have been newly built. To the west of the property, however, the beginnings of the slum – shacks built against the slopes - can already be seen.

Even after several hours the neglected boy was apathetically sitting below his torn-up canvas. Photo: humedica/Hanns-Georg Heidecker

The Haitian doctor Bernardin knows some of the people living in the slums. Fortunately, his property has up to now mostly been respected, but in order to offer some basic medical treatment to the poorest of the poor, a clinic has been set up on the property for the time being, and patients are treated for free. We want to support their work by means of providing them with drugs.

What was most touching for me, however, was the fate of a boy we met during our visit at the Bernardins’. We had already noticed him sitting below his make-shift shelter shortly in front of the camp on our way there. Four corner posts supported a modest roof about one metre above the ground. The plastic sheet which was tied between the posts was torn in the middle, exactly where the boy was sitting

While other young people were playing football just in front of him, he was sitting on his own apathetically and did not move. The whole time he stayed at the same place motionlessly. When we talked to him, he did not react.

An unbelievable amount of flies were sitting on his body and around him there were polystyrene boxes which had been used to distribute ready cooked meals. Furthermore, there were three more dirty bowls lying around him, which gave the impression that he had received a little food from other persons now and then. At first we did not know what was wrong with the boy and we said goodbye.”

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