Upon arriving in Haiti two weeks ago I had no idea what to expect. It was disaster beyond belief. Being a medical professional I was assigned to General Hospital on the night shift and assumed there would be support. However the hospital personnel had been traumatized and would not show up inside the building, so my partner, an extremely competent EMT and Nurse, and I tackled the Critical Care Unit with no supplies, very unsanitary conditions, too many patients and very little time. I hate night shift since I left the military, however, the need took precedence. I can't believe that I did not get tired or hungry.
The first week we got about two to four hours sleep a night (day). Gradually the conditions improved with the untiring effort of my friend and Scientology Volunteer Minister Ayal, and when we showed up on the floor the patients would smile, because they knew they were genuinely being cared for by concerned people. When we finished there were supplies, the floors cleaned, the dead body smell was gone and I felt we had done a very worthwhile deed. Our hours were extremely long and several nights we were without lights. Even though the schedule caught up with my body, I would do it again in a minute.
After leaving General Hospital I had the opportunity to go a children camp that is supported with supplies and logistics by Volunteer Ministers, to examine their mouths and evaluate their health along with another medical doctor. The kids are just precious with the biggest smiles, brightest eyes and wonderful hearts and optimism.
Today I flew out to an island with several Volunteer Ministerss and an Emergency Room doctor from the University of Miami tent hospital (in Port-au-Prince) to set up a clinic and to survey their needs. With very limited supplies we did wound care and the other doctor did physical exams. Our make-shift clinic was inside a partial building, but it was at least cool in there. The patients were grateful for what we were able to do for them despite of our limited means and after we completed for the day we were treated with a fresh goat meal! They really went out of their way to prepare for the guests they knew were coming even though they can hardly feed themselves.
I've cried many times while here, but I feel I was able to contribute to their welfare, even though far below what I would like to do and what they need. I would do it all again in a minute.
The Haitians are fabulous and resilient people and they will overcome this and I will be ever grateful to have been a part of this particular phase of their rehabilitation.
With great admiration and love to the people of Haiti,