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After The Quake: Patients And Healers

Mon, Jul 12, 2010

Episode 5: Haiti Episode



By Dan Grech and Kenny Malone, with help from Sammy Mack

Dr. David Chan and Jose Iglesias also contributed to this piece.

Dr. Richard LaMour, a third-year orthopedic surgery resident/ Courtesy of Dr. Dave Pitcher

This piece reconstructs an inspiring moment amid tragedy and pain, at a makeshift hospital tent in Port-au-Prince. In it, four medical professionals from South Florida recount their experience landing in Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake, and struggling to meet a desperate need for medical help.

One describes the situation as “a war zone.” Another describes a feeling of worthlessness, given the scale of the catastrophe.

But then something happens that surprises them: a man begins to play a guitar in the corner of the tent, and patients begin to sing.  Soon every Haitian in the tent is singing or clapping or dancing.  The song: “Jesus, thank you for loving us.”

For those present, it was a tipping point. Asked for her impressions, physical therapist Carmen Maria Romero says, “It’s extremely humbling to be around a people that, in the worst time of their life, have it in their hearts to give gratitude for what they have left– which is dust.”

The hospital tent, set up near Port-au-Prince’s crippled airport, was run by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Jackson Health System and Project Medishare.  To learn more about Project Medishare’s ongoing work in Haiti, click here.

Update, one year after the quake:

We  followed up with Carmen Maria Romero, the physical therapist who quit her job to move to Haiti.  Listen to that story here.

The health workers in this story share more about their experiences.

For more from our Haiti episode, click here.

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