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home : premium content : news May 24, 2016

8/28/2014 12:35:00 PM
Haitian med student Samuel Hilaire shadows doctors at Cascade Medical
Photo by Ian Dunn
Samuel Hilaire

Photo by Ian Dunn
Samuel Hilaire
Ian Dunn

The plight of Samuel Hilaire is unique, unexpected and wonderful. The third year medical student has been in Leavenworth this past month, shadowing doctors at Cascade Medical. Coming from modest means, he can't believe he is here in this beautiful place.

His journey began shortly after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. At the time, he began working with some people from Germany and the U.S. Hilaire told them about his goals and plans for the future.

Unexpectedly, a group of German angel investors decided to pay for his schooling. After working in Haiti for six months, they encouraged him to go and apply to medical school, but he wasn't sure.

"After the earthquake, I did not feel good. Because during the earthquake, I lost a cousin, who was like a brother for me," Hilaire said. "By talking with Dr. Kira about my situation in Haiti, my mom and my family, I told her I don't know if I would like to go to medical school because I have to work and help my family."

Dr. Kira Mauseth is a psychologist in Everett. She was giving mental health training to groups of youth when she met Samuel. She told him the best way to help his family was to go to school.

"By talking to her, she explained everything. Then I decided to go to medical school. Since then, she was like my personal psychologist," he said. "Without her, I never would have gone to medical school. I was thinking about working and helping people. It was really my dream to be a doctor, but with my situation, I didn't think it could ever happen."

At some point, Dr. Mauseth called Samuel to ask if he could meet her mother, Judy Rector, who would be in Port Au Prince. Rector lives in Leavenworth with her husband Robert. It ended up that Rector offered to organize a job shadowing at Cascade Medical.

He came to Leavenworth in August, after completing his third year of medical school at Quisqueya University. He said it has been a great experience at Cascade Medical.

"I have been shadowing the doctors, who are really good. The patients are also nice to me, all of them. The cases are really interesting, so I have been learning a lot. At the hospital, I am rotating with all the staff, the doctors, the PT, everybody," he said. "In the beginning, I wanted to be a surgeon. After two years of study, I changed my mind. Now, I want to be an internist, like general medicine."

Hilaire returned to Haiti on Aug. 23. His time in Leavenworth was be great, even with the fire.

"The fire is really weird for me, because in Haiti, we never have big fires. It was really strange. Now I can say, my family in the states, Mrs. Judy and Mr. Robert, Dr. Kira. I have been to many places," he said. "Last week, I went to Seattle. Went to a movie theater. Went on a Navy ship. We went to the zoo, because I really like animals. I had dinner with friends. It was really wonderful."

Medical school is different in Haiti, he said. You spend five years doing book work and practicing in hospitals. Then, one year is spent on internship in hospitals. Another year is spent doing social work for the government.

His plan is to come back to the states to work on his specialty, then return to work in Haiti.

"My mom is really happy. I am from a poor country, poor family. Now, I am in the states as a medical student. She is really proud," Hilaire said.

Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or

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