Treating Haitian earthquake victims
Naples-based Hope for Haiti delivers medial care ...
- ABOUT THE EARTHQUAKE: Major quake hits Haiti; many casualties expected
- PHOTOS: Haiti Earthquake
- VIDEOS: Haiti Earthquake
- INTERACTIVE: Earthquakes - causes and consequences
- INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: Haiti earthquake
- SPECIAL SECTION: Get more coverage of the Haiti earthquake relief efforts in our special section
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Hope for Haiti
- Mission of Hope - Haiti
- American Red Cross
- Text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti
- World Harvest Mission
- Catholic Relief Services
- Contact Nesly Loute of the Haitian American Association of Southwest Florida at email@example.com or (239) 601-2023.
- Contact Angie Valentini of Helps Outreach at 239-273-2258 or visit them at 2025 J&C Boulevard in Naples.
- Text YELE to 501 501 and 5 dollars will go toward Wyclef Jean's Yele.org Haiti earthquake relief fund
- Americans concerned about family in Haiti can call the U.S. State Dept. for info: 1-888-407-4747
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The Haitian capital's general hospital has 1,500 patients seeking treatment within its compound walls.
Mike Stewart, in-country director for the Naples-based organization Hope for Haiti, said that 80 percent of those patients need surgery. Doctors have completed a couple hundred surgeries so far, many of which will need follow up surgery as infection and gangrene is widespread.
Seventy more patients arrived Monday.
Stacey Boujour, a 14-month-old infant pulled from the rubble Monday morning, greeted nurse Margaret Bortko when she arrived for her third day at the hospital. The baby girl was listless in the arms of a photographer as the Hope for Haiti crew arrived at the triage. After assessing the infant and giving her a cleaning, Bortko took time to nourish the child with baby food and water.
“I am afraid to feed her too quickly but she is like a baby bird opening her mouth,” Bortko said.
At the time, it was thought the baby was orphaned in the earthquake and she was named “Esperance,” meaning “Hope.” The infant’s condition improved rapidly with the nourishment and by later in the day she was in the company of her aunt, Natacha Similien.
Mid-morning, Hope for Haiti’s Stanley Liste and Stewart were organizing a small army of men and women outside the doors of the triage. The two were signing them up to clean a morgue that has been a way station for thousands of rotting bodies, to clean up trash around the hospital compound and transfer goods as they arrive.
Inside the triage, several Haitian men circulated with doctors with a strip of medical tape on their chest with “translator” written on it.
Reggie LaPorte was one of these men. The fluent English speaking man attended high school in Miami and returned to Haiti after his mother’s death in 1996.
Monday, LaPorte accompanied the missionary triage doctors as they prepped the patients needing surgery, serving as a portal of information.
Despite the variety of missionary medical volunteers, the need for more supplies and manpower is needed.
“That’s what we need to tell Hope for Haiti. We need more nurses, more nurses and more nurses,” said volunteer Naples doctor Vladimir Mathieu.
In a supply closet where the doctors and nurses used to grab a quick drink or snack outside of the view of the starving patients, it was apparent that their physical exhaustion was masked with a strong spirit among the volunteers.
“It’s not about the 40,000 that have died. It’s about the 6 million that are starving. God is using Haiti to heal the world. It is going to become a beacon of light for the world, “ said Dr. Jean-Paul Bonnet, a former Hope for Haiti missionary doctor from Sparta, N.J.
The doctors and nurses working the triage continue to face unexpected scenarios as they continue to work with a fraction of what they need.
“The woman in bed eight is anemic and we don’t have any blood to give her. We can’t give her water because it will cause her to become more anemic,” said Hope for Haiti volunteer doctor Philip Organ.
The woman’s husband draped himself over her as they prayed together.
“Avoir courage,” Stewart said to an elderly man being transferred to a post-operation recovery ward after both legs were amputated, which is French for ‘Have courage.”
Seeming as if he appeared out of nowhere, former U.S. President Bill Clinton appeared at L’Hopital General to tour the compound with his daughter Chelsea, several Haitian dignitaries, hospital officials and a mob of journalists.
“He came out of nowhere and tapped me on the shoulder. He thanked me for what we are doing. He actually knew what we were missing,” Orlando-based nurse Elizabeth Kaplan said.
“He said, ‘You really need surgery supplies. He said you need an oxygen machine,” she said.
As quickly as the entourage appeared, it disappeared.
Among the accomplishments for the day, Stewart said they were able to return power to all of the usable parts of the hospital, open more surgery wards, and open an emergency room. They also began taking in more patients from ambulances and search and rescue teams.
Late in the afternoon, a set of four Haitian ambulances pulled up with a load of more patients.