Vasectomies Haiti: The Man With The Missing Testicle!
September 7, 2015
On the team’s second full day in Haiti, we planned to provide vasectomies at the medical clinic in Fort Bourgeois. We again had our petite dejuner (that’s French for breakfast) but the team skipped the vomit inducing coconuts this time.
We then drove to the clinic of Dr. Mesadieu, who is the leader of the Haitian domestic vasectomy team. The medical clinic was Uls Sante Clinic in Fort Bourgeois, Haiti and was high in the hills overlooking the city of Cap Haitien. The cooling breeze was better at this altitude.
First mission article: Vasectomy Haiti: No Reservations
Dr. Mesadieu: A true physician
Dr. Mesadieu works in a three room clinic nestled into the hillside between a church and several small houses. He works tirelessly to care for his patients.
Many cannot pay for their medical care. Those who can pay him pay him whatever they can afford. He was educated in Haiti and unlike other Haitian physicians he chose to stay and help the Haitian people. He is trying to expand his clinic and has purchased a small plot next to his existing clinic. He plans to build a larger heath clinic on this plot.
He proudly showed us the plot of land which was located on a steep hill. There were two huts and several goats on his new plot. He informed us these people would have to move when construction of the new building got underway.
Property lines in Haiti: You can stay as long as no one says go!
It seems property boundaries are not always well defined in Haiti. Essentially, you can build a hut wherever there is no other structure. You are welcome to stay as long as no one tells you to go.
I would imagine at first you build a new structure and hang out. If no one runs you off then you build a more substantial structure over time. The poorest huts seems to be made with mud and sticks. A step up from this is a house built with stones taken from the hillsides. The Haitian are very good at recycling stones for building…they truly do not leave any stone unturned. When you are able to build a structure with cinder blocks then you are doing very well on the social hierarchy scale in Haiti.
The number of partially built homes around Haiti amazed me. There were many places that had foundations only. Some places had walls but no roofs. Others had walls and roofs but no internal fixtures or inhabitants. I was informed people build their homes as they have time and resources to build. Building permits are not required. The speed of building depends on the available resources of time, money, and materials. When any of these resources run out then construction would stop. On some structures construction seemed to have stopped permanently.
Vasectomies and the man with the missing testicle
We began the day with a large number of vasectomy patients. We crammed ourselves into a small room; five doctors, two nurses, and three patients at a time. All in a room the size of an average American bathroom. Needless to say it was hot inside that room. Great for the half naked vasectomy patient but not so great for us.
One guy laid down in front of me for a vasectomy. His left testicle was there but his right testicle was missing. He only spoke Creole and I only spoke English. The leading diagnoses was the right testicle was removed for some reason or it never descended at birth. It is really not possible to be born with only one testicle…very very rare…kind of like only being born with one eye.
I inspected him carefully and he did not have any surgical incisions to indicate his testicle was surgically removed. I examined his inguinal canal and his abdominal wall. No testicle there.
I was able to summon a translator and the patient indicated he fell off his bike when he was a kid and ‘it just went away.’ I thought he was screwing with me and this story was the product of some local folklore Haitian mom’s tell their sons so they would be careful riding their bikes. I was then informed by a more senior member of the team severe trauma to the testicle can insult the blood supply and the testicle can just shrivel up, die, and disappear.
We just don’t see this stuff in the US. God it had to have hurt!
I cringed just thinking about this man’s childhood experience. I mean I have cracked my stuff on my bike handle bar as a kid and I have zipped my stuff up in a zipper and those events were fairly painful..need I say…excruciatingly painful experiences but nothing ever shriveled up, died, and disappeared!
This guy must have really smashed that thing hard! All I could think about was one Haitian kid curled up inside a mud hut for several days. This was one tough guy but thankfully his one sided vasectomy went great and was extra fast.
Next article: Vasectomy Haiti: Treating Hydroceles and Meeting A Man of God
Supporting No-scalpel vasectomies in the developing world
Help provide vasectomies in the developing world by contributing to No Scalpel Vasectomy International. You can donate directly through their website:
No-Scalpel Vasectomy International
For less than $50 you can provide a man have a vasectomy procedure. In doing so he will be better able to provide for his family and their future.
Dr. Monteith is an OB/Gyn who supports NSVI and participates in vasectomy missions with the organization. Dr. Monteith participated in a NSVI sponsored vasectomy mission trip to Haiti.
Dr. Monteith performs No-scalpel vasectomies in his office in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can learn more about his vasectomy practice: His Choice: Vasectomy and Vasectomy Reversal