Two men from Haiti with bone and joint injuries will be coming to Penobscot Bay Medical Center for surgery and extended recovery in the local community.

A team of PBMC physicians and medical staff, led by orthopaedist Dr. Kevin Olehnik, will be caring for the men. Much of the cost of this medical care will be donated and funds are being raised for other costs, including medical equipment and travel to and from Haiti.

Olehnik, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and New Jersey Medical School, has been active with Notre Dame’s Haiti Program for the last four years. That work took on additional urgency earlier this year when the small island nation experienced a devastating 7.0 earthquake. Since then, Olehnik and his colleagues Dr. Lars Ellison, urologist, and Dr. Doug Cole, surgeon, have twice traveled to Haiti.

One of the men will be receiving a full hip replacement. An artist with two sons, Jean Junior, 30, sustained a hip dislocation in a motorcycle accident just prior to the earthquake. He is closely associated with the Notre Dame Haiti Program.

The other man, Claudy Bertrand, 30, has one child and was the program assistant with the University of Notre Dame’s Haiti program. Bertrand requires major surgery to repair his tibia after sustaining an open fracture of this bone when he slid four stories down a collapsing hotel in Port-au-Prince during the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Both will spend their initial recovery period at Olehnik’s home in Rockport and will receive physical therapy and related recovery services from PBMC. The men are from the Leogane area in Haiti, home to the University of Notre Dame’s Haiti Program headquarters as well as the epicenter of the January earthquake.

“Unfortunately, in Haiti, handicapped people are severely outcast,” said Olehnik. “Many times they are are even rejected by their families because they are considered ‘abnormal’ and are unable to provide for the family. In this sense, surgery will, quite literally, give them their lives back.”

Bertrand will be arriving in mid-September. Surgery will be scheduled shortly after his arrival and he will require approximately two months to recover. After his initial recovery, he will continue to recuperate at the Olehnik’s home while he undergoes physical therapy. Due to visa delays, Junior will be making the trip to the Midcoast around the middle of October. “Despite his present condition, Jean must visit the main hospital in Port-au-Prince to be evaluated to verify that the surgery he requires cannot be performed in Haiti. Then he will have to go to the U.S. to apply for his medical visa,” said Olehnik.

All PBMC physicians involved in the surgeries are donating their services. Penobscot Bay Medical Center is providing hospital resources required at cost. Orthopaedists Dr. Richard Beauchesne and Dr. Douglas MacMichael will be performing the surgeries along with anesthesiologist Dr. David Maddox and the rest of the anesthesia department.

“Roy Hitchings and the rest of Pen Bay Healthcare have been very supportive of this project,” said Olehnik. “They have gone above and beyond what we expected in every way to help us care for these two men. It is our hope that others will join the effort to make a very real difference in the lives of these two men.”

A group has formed to raise money for Jean Junior’s and Claudy Bertrand’s travel expenses as well as the other costs related to their operations, hospital care and aftercare not already donated. With the help of The Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation, a restricted fund has been created to facilitate donations to provide this care.

Checks may be made out to Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation, with a check notation:

International Medical Fund/Haiti, and mailed to 22 White St., Rockland, 04841. Call (207) 594-6713 for further information, or make a gift to this fund online at www.penbayhealthcare.org/internationalfund.