MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Ahead of the fifth year anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Miami doctors who were on the ground within hours of the quake, helping to save lives and a new generation of physicians are still working there.
On January 10, 2010, a magnitude seven earth-quakes shakes Haiti, killing anywhere between 230-thousand to 316-thousand people. Hundreds of thousands more were injured.
In those first critical hours, doctors from the University Of Miami (UM) rushed to the devastated island.
“I was there for the first two weeks after the earthquake. It was probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done as a physician, and it will stick with more forever,” said Dr. Carl Schulman from University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
CBS4 photojournalist Mitch Cuba traveled to Haiti with the doctors, documenting their struggles to treat the wounded while facing huge challenges. The country was still in ruins and medical supplies were in short supply.
Dr. Schulman said they made do when things like titanium rods for broken bones weren’t available.
“Just leave them in a cast, traction, basic traction…hang a rock or sand bag over the bed with a rope that’s pulling their leg to the proper length and distance,” said Dr. Schulman.
Five years later, doctors in Haiti are still dealing with supply shortages and they’re still getting help from doctors at UM and Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“We would do the same thing here, so perfect. Did the same thing here,” said Doctor Antonio Marttos.
On a daily basis, doctors in Miami video-conference doctors in Haiti discussing patients and the best way to treat them.
CBS4 crews sat in the review of treatment to a gun-shot patient. X-rays show tubes were placed in his chest to keep him alive.
“Our advice would be leave like this for now, wait a little bit and then remove,” said Marttos.
Haitian doctor, Dr. Sebastian Mondiere says the program is a big help.
“We don’t have the expertise to, to manage the patients we receive here at the hospital,” said Dr. Mondiere.
More importantly, the program shows the doctor’s on-going commitment to Haiti.
“I gained a tremendous appreciation for the Haitian people and their amazing sense of community and not only gratitude towards us but the way they helped each other was very wonderful to see,” said Dr. Schulman.
Aside from the video conferencing, Miami doctors travel to Haiti on a rotating basis to do hands on medical work.
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