EMT and LPN, Ayal Lindeman, keeps his word to 22-year-old Haitian engineering student Ralph-Mary Gedeon (Photo credit: Randi Sidman Moore).
Ralph-Mary Gedeon during his transport from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to New Haven, USA.
Arrival in New Haven, 18 February 2010
Arrival in New Haven, 18 February 2010
Scientology Volunteer Minister and EMT Ayal Lindeman in a tent hospital in Port Au Prince, Haiti.

NEW HAVEN (February 18, 2010)-Medical professional and Scientology Volunteer Minister Ayal Lindeman, who was working on the earthquake getting volunteers to go and handling logistics shortly after the earthquake after the January 12 earthquake and then went to Haiti on the 21st of January, is keeping his promise today to a Haitian man whose leg was amputated to save his life.

Ralph-Mary Gedeon, 22, was attending classes at a Port-au-Prince engineering school on January 12 when his school collapsed in the earthquake, burying him alive. His father, Raphael Gedeon, rushed to the school and frantically climbed through the mountains of fallen building, calling his son's name over and over until he heard Ralph-Mary crying out from the rubble. For hours, Raphael used his hands to try to dig Ralph out. Unable to move the heavy debris, he ran for help from friends and together they dug through the concrete, metal and dust. Not until a day and a half later did they finally reach Ralph.

Seriously injured and his left leg crushed, they took him to General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where he met Ayal Lindeman.

A licensed practical nurse, emergency medical technician and Scientology Volunteer Minister trained in disaster relief, Lindeman had arrived in Haiti 9 days after the quake, on one of the Scientology-sponsored transport planes allowed into the country that brought more than 100 Haitian doctors, nurses and EMTs and a support corps of Volunteer Ministers to assist them in providing medical care. When he was informed that Haitians in 4 wards had no medical assistance from 5pm to 8am he and another Scientology Volunteer Minister went in to take care of these patients.

Facing the worst conditions he had ever encountered, this veteran of 9/11 Ground Zero rescue operations, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and other worst-case disasters, Lindeman pulled together a team of medical professionals and Scientology Volunteer Ministers and started cleaning up the wards and organizing supply lines and prioritizing patient care. While the many other medical professionals volunteering during the day, and doctors battling to save lives in sometimes primitive conditions, Lindeman working with other medical professionals during the night attended to patients lying on bare mattresses soiled with body waste and blood.

He assisted the Haitian Medical staff to feel safe to be inside a building, to be able to return to their jobs, and to be allowed to be the ones to run the show when dealing with foreign medical professionals that were there to assist.

Lindeman noticed Ralph-Mary Gedeon and his father Raphael who never left his side but could do little to ease the pain or slow the infections in his son's leg. Although receiving dialysis, the doctors stated Ralph would not survive without an amputation of his leg.

But being an amputee in Haiti meant living a very difficult life. His father stated that he would never be able to get a job. Ralph-Mary said he would rather die then to get his leg amputated. Ralph's father didn't want his son to die, but didn't want to condemn him to what he considered to be a horrible life.

Lindeman noticed and admired the faith and love between Ralph's father and Ralph. Lindeman told Ralph, "You have to live a long life because some day your dad is going to need you the way he is here for you." He promised Ralph that if he went through the amputation that he get a high tech prosthetic leg and he would be able to continue his life, be able to play soccer, and continue on in school.  He asked Ralph if anyone he knew had internet access and Ralph said yes. Lindeman had those people go online and find the stories of the army jump master, the navy master diver, and another member of the US military injured in combat who is now running on 2 prosthetic legs.

When Ralph received this information from his friends, he had hope. He asked Lindeman if he would get him one of those legs. And stated that he played soccer. He wanted a leg so he would be able to play soccer again.

Lindeman promised him that he would help him get such a leg. He told Ralph that it would take work, like working out in a weight room or training for a soccer team, but with work it, could be done. Ralph agreed to the amputation.

To keep his word, Lindeman contacted an old high school track teammate, Dr. David H. Gibson, an orthopedic surgeon who teaches at Yale University and practices at the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven.  Dr. Gibson agreed to take on the case. The Hospital of Saint Raphael agreed to cover his hospital stay.

Lindeman then started working on what would be necessary to transfer Ralph to the states to be able to receive Dr. Gibson's care. He also arranged to have Ralph transferred from the general hospital to the hospital being run by the University of Miami in Haiti. At that hospital additional work needed to be done on Ralph’s leg as a results of complications from the amputations. Lindeman used any and all potential contacts that he could think of or come across and asked everyone he knew for any ideas of who to speak with on how to get a flight to safely get Ralph to Connecticut. A photojournalist mentioned that she had met some people who had access to privately owned aircrafts and gave Lindeman the contact information.  By chance these people happened to be at the hospital. When Lindeman first spoke to him they told him it really wasn’t something they did, but then one of them had an idea. It was a gentleman, who owned an aircraft that wanted to do something and this had fallen through, maybe he would like to take on this task.

And so it was that the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT)/Airlink was able to team up with Mr. Nick Popovich, the owner of a private jet to bring Ralph and 2 other patients to the United States.

At 11:30 pm EST that aircraft touched down at Robinson Aviation in East Haven, Connecticut.

The aircraft was met by American Medical Response (AMR), which transported Ralph and Ayal to St. Raphael Hospital. Dr. Gibson was there to meet the aircraft as well. Although Ralph faces additional surgery, rehabilitation, physical occupational therapy, he is looking forward to 1 day completing his engineering education and playing soccer with his new leg.

Ayal Lindeman is living the motto of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Corps: "Something can be done about it."