You may be wondering why in the world did we start a medical clinic in Haiti? Many assume it’s because Coby took the initiative. Afterall, we were in the process of adopting from there. But he didn’t. It found him. There’s much more to this story…and it’s worth your time to read on.
There was this guy named Brent Rutland and his wife Becky who took their kids to Haiti last year over spring break. It just happened that their son Jordan was injured while playing soccer in this remote, rural village of Neply, Haiti. They drove for hours around the island looking for medical help, only to discover that they were driving in vain. There is lil’ medical help available in this area. After arriving back home in Nashville, Brent felt like they should do more. They should do more to help and make a difference.
Just a few weeks later, this sweet boy named Frantzsky became ill. Really ill. He has special needs and is in the care of myLIFEspeaks. He was found in the village, malnourished and unloved. He was found by missionaries walking through the village one day, lying on a mattress outside his home. It is suspected he remained alive due to a caring sister who would slip him food now and then.
He had been sick for 2 weeks or so. High fever of 105 which had worsened with seizures. He had already been treated for malaria. Not once, but twice. The limited medical attention available to him said there’s nothing more they could do. It was clear that if nothing was done, he would die.
Frantzsky wasn’t eating. His caretakers were watching him waste away. Not knowing what else to do–they called Brent Rutland. They remembered that Brent worked with several doctors as an industry bench researcher. Brent said, “I don’t know why–I just called up Coby.” (Coby & Brent had worked together on research projects over the years. But Brent now lived in Nashville and Coby lived in Austin. There really is no explanation other than God as to why Brent made that call.) Coby discovered that there is a resistant form of malaria and the medication is unavailable in Haiti. Here’s the problem: we don’t know how to get the medicine there in time to save Frantzsky’s life. You can’t just write an order for a prescription for someone outside of the U.S. It’s complicated…but it takes time to get medicine to a foreign country!
And Brent called a doctor that he knew in Florida. The doctor said that there was nothing else that he could do…but he could ask his dad for help. Brent asked, “Well, who’s your dad?” On the other end of the phone, he heard, “My dad is the U.N. ambassador for Haiti.” A phone call later, the necessary medicine was picked up by a U.N. jet and flown to Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti. The medicine was administered to Frantzsky and within a week, this lil’ boy was better. Weeks later, the founders of myLIFEspeaks and Brent Rutland agreed that they should do more. They agreed to start a medical clinic and decided to ask Coby for help.
Brent wrestled with this idea for 2 weeks. He thought for sure that Coby would say “No.” He prayed that if Coby was the one, that he would answer the phone. (But Coby NEVERS answer the phone! It is a very rare occurrence to have him pick up your call). This day was different. Coby just happened to be in his car driving. At the very moment Brent called to ask Coby to be the medical director of their new clinic, Coby was on his way to speak to the Dell Children’s Women’s Trust Fund as one of three finalist for their $100,000 grant. Coby’s Pediatric ER fellowship was submitted because he wanted to pursue international/global medicine opportunities, advocacy projects and research opportunities for his trainees. Little did Brent know that medical missions is something Coby has desired to do his entire life!
Coby won the grant. He said YES to Brent. The medical clinic opened in August 2013. Our first medical team went in January 2014. Frantzsky is well.
If you want to hear more about Franzsky’s story, please click HERE.