Editor's Note: Daily News multi-media journalists Matt Clark and David Albers are following Rev. Jean-Marie Fritz Ligonde, a Naples priest, as he searches for survivors of Collier County families.
Albers briefly helps translate for Rick Dutton, a man who was here to assess hydration and make recommendations to a company, but then used his skills in medicine to help out.
Dutton is attempting to diagnose a possible bone injury to the leg of a young woman.
Next to Dutton, a woman with two amputated toes begins to scream and wail as antibiotic is applied to her wounds.
Dutton turns around and instructs for more anesthesia to be used.
He then turns back, and continues checking the woman Albers is speaking to. Touch here, no pain. Touch there, pain. Palpitations.
“It does not feel broken,” Dutton says as he examines the woman’s hip, where she felt pain.
She fell on the ground as the earthquake was happening, but nothing fell on her.
Tears begin to form in the eyes of the woman who is having her amputated toes treated.
Dutton tells Dave to have the woman being diagnosed to stand up. She does. Dutton puts his hands under her armpits and then slowly guides here, walking to the clinic.
“I think she has a big bruise and a bit of hysteria,” Dutton says. “Post-traumatic stress. I think she’s just traumatized and sore.”
Without a knowledge of medicine and in a city full of hysteria, it is easy to understand how some feel they may be in serious medical danger.
Update: 3:20 p.m.
Soon after the doctor sees her, the blind baby receives her antibiotic injection in the rear.
“It’s a 19-year-old mother and a 12-month-old child,” I keep running through my head. Over and over.
The mother seems confused, but more likely I feel she is overcome with her responsibilities in a situation that makes it impossible to cope with the stress.
I ask the translator, who will soon be busy explaining to the mother how to use the baby formula she will be given, to give me their names.
The baby’s name is Steline, the mother Darline.
As Lesperance pushes down on the syringe, Steline comes to life, in pain.
Her little eyelids shut just a bit. Her cry I will never forget. A small, long, breathy “ahh,” that reverberates. “Ahh. Ahh. Ahh,” she says.
The mother just looks stunned.
After being explained the formula, she gets up, her red skirt bouncing as she proceeds to the ledge, where she picks up some bottled water, then goes to the gate, and walks off.
I wonder what will happen to them. They are both so young, and it is terribly sad.
“There’s going to be a lot of deaths here very soon,” Lesperance tells me later when I explain how struck I was. “We’re going to see a lot of deaths here and it’s going to be the children. I’m very scared.”
Her comment didn’t help me.
However, later, two babies in terrible condition the day before came back, and Lesperance said the change was stunning.
“I held the one it,” Lesperance said. “It was miraculous. They are different children today.”
Update: 3:15 p.m.
“I’m afraid that it was a very serious illness that affected the baby’s brain,” Bortko tells a 19-year-old mother about her baby, who rests on the mother’s lap.
The mother said her daughter had expressed symptoms of an illness before the earthquake occurred, and when she went to take her to a hospital, the earthquake struck.
Ten days later, the little girl’s eyes stare off, unresponsive. She is blind.
“She was a normal, healthy child until January,” Bortko says to the translator, half asking, half stating.
The clinic we arrived at is operated by Hope For Haiti and the International Medical Corps. It is under a carport on the campus of the friar-operated Don Bosco Center For Learning here in Carrfoure, just outside Port-au-Prince.
Unable to diagnose, Bortko and Lesperance ask a doctor to help them. They prepare an antibiotic injection. The mother looks back at them, silent, not displaying emotion, but clearly distraught inside.
Update: 3 p.m.
A six-month, two-week-old baby born two months premature was brought in by a father.
The boy’s nickel-sized mouth emits small cries as the father feeds his son formula through a syringe, both given to him by the clinic staff.
“Strong suck, strong suck,” Bortko says, sticking her gloved finger into the baby’s mouth. She advises the father to have the mother feed the child.
The baby is in pain, the father is showing no major outward emotion, but the silence speaks volumes about the terrible thoughts likely coming from his heart.
“It’s amazing this baby is still alive,” Bortko says. “Let’s hope for Haiti.”
The baby’s name is Bereka Valcin. Lesperance later admits he is unlikely to survive.
Update: 2:30 p.m.
Outside the clinic, nurses clean various cuts and abrasions, many of them serious, including amputated toes.
Patients sit along a stone wall, and wait for help. Along the van we came in on, a group of five mothers hold their babies.
A woman screams out and slaps her leg as a nurse pulls infected pieces of skin and debris from open wounds on her foot.
The gate to the campus is closed and a group waits outside. When I approach, they call out for water.
The clinic itself has a few fold-up chairs and wood tables. The tables are scattered with various medical supplies, loosely sorted.
It’s calmer than before a man later tells me, but still chaotic.
After a jarring ride in the back of a truck, which was less-than- suitable for texting, we have arrived at an intermediary destination: The L'Hopital General, right downtown.
David Albers reported from here earlier this week, and Hope For Haiti has been doing a lot of work here.
Bortko introduced me to a man she found under a sheet in one of the tent cities there.
"I don't feel it," said Joesph Tisa, 57, when I asked him about his injuries.
Bortko said Tisa had several fractures on his left leg and and a head injury.
"We found him eight days after the earthquake," Bortko said. "He hasn't eaten yet. I just gave him a granola bar."
On the ride in to the hospital, we saw several soldiers with the 82nd Airborne. Bortko threw them bubble gum.
Next to Tisa, was a small girl, who was screaming as a nurse tried to start an intravenous drip.
Bortko took a glance at the chart. The little girl had multiple fractures throughout her body. There were pins in her legs.
In order to save her life, the little girl had received a transfusion.
We're leaving the hospital now after a quick run through. Headed for Carrefoure. May not have cell access there, so it could be a while until the next update.
Over night, there were two 4.0 tremors. We had another tremor before we left.
Always reminded of the danger.
Today we are going to Carrefour, a town less than an hour west of Port- au-Prince and closer to the epicenter.
We're going with Hope For Haiti, which is working with the International Medical Corps, build On and Doctors Without Borders in turning Carrefur's two tent cities of 7,000 people into a sustainable place to live.
Going with us will be two nurses volunteering with Hope For Haiti.
Monna Lesperance, a nurse practitioner at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, has been volunteering with Hope For Haiti since April, taking a couple trip.
Lesperance went to Haiti in December to mark her 65th birthday.
"I figured that was a great way to celebrate it," Lesperance said.
"I've got her beat," Lesperance said after I told her about Sister Judy Dohner.
Also coming is Margaret Bortko, 55, who described herself as a "well- seasoned" paramedic and nurse practitioner.
Bortko is from Ennis, Mont., but was in Naples visiting her father when she learned about Hope For Haiti on the news.
The two nurses will be treating everything up to surgery at the tent cities. More serious wounds will be transported to a hospital.
NDN photographer David Albers explained that the number one personnel need down here are nurses, who can treat the tens if not hundreds of thousands of infections Haitians are experiencing.
Those interested could likely call the Hope For Haiti office.
POSTED ON THURSDAY
PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Before I could share the rest of what we experienced with Christophe, we rushed to investigate a comment that had been left on our Web site. The commenter said a man was trapped by the freezers in a collapsed
supermarket near where we were.
"Adolpho Prato is texting from the Carribean Supermarket at Delmas 95," the message said in all capital letters. "He is near the freezers and bleeding and alive."
When we arrived, the scene was pure horror. The multi-level supermarket had collapsed. Debris hung from the sides, likely to fall with or without an aftershock.
Men were taking beverages from inside the market and loading them on trucks.
We could smell the bodies inside.
Unfortunately, the comment exposed what is a terrible situation for the many rescue groups that have come to the supermarket. Friends and family keeping begging them to go inside.
"There are 64 people alive in there!," a man shouted in Creole to Capt. Billy Monahan of the Los Angeles County Fire Search and Rescue Team, who was giving an update.
"How can you not find any of them," the man shouted again.
Monahan went to explain that the public should trust the half-dozen rescue groups that have been to the market, searched and found nothing.
"We cannot go to every building," he reminds the crowd before telling them that the efforts used here could have gone elsewhere.
"We have just accessed one more tiny area," Monahan said.
"We want to find your family for you," Monahan tells the group, noting dead or alive. "We're not going to stop."
Then a woman shouted.
"Why are you talking to us, you should be searching," she yelled while pointing and shaking her arm at the building.
Christophe is all out of options. She said her family in Haiti has either died or can not be reached by phone.
"There is nothing to do," she said through translation. "Just leave."
At night, Christophe sleeps on a pile of blankets and pillows on a ridge near a home where a half-dozen people take shade under carports.
During the day, she wanders the streets until she finds a group of people and then spends the day with them.
Aware we were coming, she arrived at the corner where we met her at 7 a.m.
The property where she sleeps is owned by a man who is leaving for the countryside. Many of the people she knew in the neighborhood have left, and when he goes, she said she will be all alone.
Though the building where she lives is upright, there are bodies inside and she stays away.
Though she can get water, food from aid groups has been impossible to get. She will not steal, as many have.
"Every night, there are robberies," Christophe told us before saying he has been sleeping on her belongings to make sure they are not taken.
We found Marie Paulone Christophe. She is the mother of three recent Golden Gate High graduates.
After looking at a couple of places, a Haitian man wearing a University of Kentucky hat pointed us in the right direction.
Christophe was sitting in the back of a tap-tap truck, a type of Haitian cab named for the sound passengers make when they alert the driver to a stop. It appears to be broken down and several other people were inside with Christophe taking refuge from the sun.
Albers and I both greeted her with hugs. She smiled, excited.
We are driving now to the refugee camp she has been living in since the quake.
There has not been time to talk with her yet.
"It is nice to meet you," she said when we approached.
We have been stuck in traffic for an hour, after waiting for our driver, who took longer than expected to arrive for the same reason we are being delayed now.
Port-au-Prince is our destination again.
Marc, Carl and Marie Fertil, who the Daily News wrote a story about in May, are concerned for their mother's well being. Marie Paulone Christophe was living in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake struck.
The siblings attend or have graduated from Golden Gate High School.
After several days of being unable to reach her, the siblings have been in intermittent contact with her via cell phone.
She is working with her neighbors to survive in a refugee camp on Delmas, a main thoroughfare, near her unlivable home and Les Pepins Kindergarten, which our driver may be able to get us to.
Refugee camps have sprung up in nearly every open area of the city. We are hoping for a stroke of luck in finding her.
She had health problems before the quake struck, and now infections have started on her skin.
POSTED ON WEDNESDAY
Outside St. Damien’s Children’s Hospital in Tabarre, a suburb of Port-au-Prince near the U.S. Embassy, patients recovering or waiting for surgery sat under makeshift tents Tuesday.
Tarps and sheets tied to trees and the hospital provided shade and various sheets, foam pads and cots provided a place to rest.
Gerard Loradin, 43, lived and taught English for about 15 years in Boston, Mass.
While waiting for surgery on his fractured femur, Loradin shared his earthquake experience.
Scrapes on his feet were becoming infected and a half-dozen flies flew around them as he talked.
“I was in my room watching TV,” Loradin said. “I could not make it. The roof started falling down and the ceiling opened up.”
When asked what emotions he was feeling, Loradin said the whole country is in sadness.
He said the experience which gave him the most grief occurred after neighbors rescued him from the rubble of his home 20 minutes after the quake.
“They followed my voice,” Loradin said.
He was rushed to L’Hopital General in Port-au-Prince, where the Naples-based humanitarian group Hope For Haiti had been treating victims of the quake.
“Children were dying all around me,” Loradin said. “I heard little bitty cries, but no one was there to help them.”
His great aunt was next to him, and he witnessed her death. Loradin said his cousin went to arrange for burial services.
“I had to keep talking to her while she was dead,” Loradin said. He was trying to prevent staff from realizing she had died.
He didn’t want his aunt to end up in a mass grave, which is where he said they were sending the bodies all around him.
- 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