HAITI RELIEF MISSION
Charles Sousa's Member Statement regarding Dr. Frank Lista April 14, 2010
Haiti Relief Update Feb 19, 2010
Making Do Feb 18, 2010
Last Minute Emergency Feb 17, 2010
Nation of Heroes Feb 16, 2010
LEAP Haiti Relief Update Feb 15, 2010
The People Feb 22, 2010
Utter Chaos Feb 18, 2010
Entering a New World Feb 17, 2010
From Texas to Haiti Feb 14, 2010
Our Journey Begins Feb 13, 2010
We're Going. Feb 11, 2010
February 11, 2010
On Friday the clinic is sending a surgicalÂ team to Haiti. What a story.
Shortly after the earthquake, The president of the American Society ofÂ Plastic Surgeons sent all of us an email outlining the efforts of Dr. CraigÂ Hobar, a Dallas plastic surgeon and a founder of the LEAP organization. LEAPÂ is an organization that travels to the developing world to bring plastic andÂ reconstructive surgery to people of need. They already had a presence inÂ Haiti when the earthquake struck. Dr. Hobar and his team immediatelyÂ recognized that this was a natural disaster like no other. In most disastersÂ there are those who die, swept away by the floods or killed by explosionsÂ and those who live. For the survivors the problem is usually one of publicÂ health issues; disease, shelter, food and water. This was not true for theÂ Haiti earthquake.
Hundreds of thousands of people were injured. Broken limbs, wounds, terribleÂ lacerations and infections. Fractures which could not be fixed eitherÂ because of delays in rescue or lack of sophisticated fracture care to treatÂ compound injuries. Gangrene, wound infections and soft tissue deficits areÂ common amongst the survivors. It's like hundreds of thousands of people wereÂ involved in a plane crash all at the same time. These are injuries andÂ problems normally dealt with by plastic surgeons. Haiti is a disaster whereÂ the injured need plastic and reconstructive surgery at a level never seenÂ before.
Dr. Hobar asked for surgical teams to volunteer to go to Haiti on aÂ rotational basis. One team a week. Each team continuing the debridement,Â skin grafting and reconstructive procedures from the previous team. I postedÂ a notice on our fridge asking staff who were interested to attend a meetingÂ one evening. I was amazed that almost every member or our staff attended theÂ meeting. 15 people volunteered for the trip. Everyone else asked how theyÂ could help us in our preparations. The response was overwhelming. I calledÂ Dr. Zig Wojtasik to give up a week of work and come with us as ourÂ anaesthetist. Without a moment's hesitation he said yes.
I wrote Dr. Hobar and told him we were ready to go. We discussed travelÂ preparations. Regular commercial flights to Haiti are discontinued and wereÂ not scheduled to resume until March. So we began making preparations toÂ leave in a month. A few days later Dr. Hobar sent us an email that theÂ situation in Haiti was more dire than expected. Surgical needs of theÂ injured could not wait till March. Teams would need to go now. A day laterÂ he called us. Could we leave in a week? He had arranged a private businessÂ jet to fly us in on Sat Feb 13. Could we get to Dallas on Friday, 6 teamsÂ members and all our gear?
Bedlam. The people were ready. Now we had to put together our gear. SurgicalÂ supplies and instruments. We started making calls, ordering equipment, drugsÂ and supplies. Every staff member was involved in helping us get organized.Â We called all of our suppliers and asked them to help us out with the thingsÂ we needed. The response was amazing. Companies, individuals,Â suppliers...everyone offered help in any way that they could. Our pharmacyÂ paid for drugs that they obtained for us. Drug companies made donations.Â Employees of some companies pitched in financially to help buy supplies.Â Conmed showed up with a brand new cautery machine that they wanted to donateÂ and asked us to leave in Haiti for future LEAP teams. Johnson and JohnsonÂ donated sutures. Some company reps paid for supplies out of their ownÂ pockets to help the cause. Medical Mart made a large financial contributionÂ and our rep, Dave Dalton, worked tirelessly to fill our needs. People whoÂ know us and others who don't contributed time, money and supplies. It givesÂ me the shivers to see the generosity.
So we leave tomorrow. Air Canada has been a huge help in arranging our tripÂ to Dallas. We're travelling with carry on back packs and 12 boxes ofÂ supplies. We now have a personal relationship with Mr. Duncan Dee, COO ofÂ Air Canada whose office is making our travel arrangements and waving excessÂ baggage fees. We spent most of last night packing our supplies in boxes.Â Like any nervous traveller we spent today re-packing it all over again.Â We're leaving the clinic all together tomorrow at 3pm. Our flight leavesÂ Toronto at 7:30 pm and arrives in Dallas around 11.pm. Â Dr. Hobar is meetingÂ us in Dallas and then we transfer to the private jet that at 4am will takeÂ us to Haiti.
We're all excited and nervous. Unsure of what to expect.