- LIFE BEYOND -
HAITI 2010: EARTHQUAKE OF THE CENTURY
Our medical team arrived at l’Hôpital de l’Université d’Etat in Port-au-Prince two days after the earthquake. Our headlights lit up the hospital’s courtyard and revealed a post-apocalyptic scene. Thousands of injured people had gathered in the courtyard and waited for help.
We converted the still-standing building with the greatest natural light into a surgical area even though the second floor looked as though it might collapse at any moment. We scrubbed the walls and floors and rid the area of rats before we unpacked any supplies. Our facility precluded the possibility of meeting sterility standards. Supplies critically low, my dad asked a journalist “Get us medical alcohol. If you can’t find any, bring a bottle of grain alcohol, and if you can’t find that bring vodka.”
BOY WITH CLUBFOOT CHANGES AMERICAN SURGEON'S LIFE
My chance encounter with a four-year old boy in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco changed both our lives. The orthopedic surgeon in me recognized this congenital deformity as untreated clubfeet. He could stumble his way around now, but in a few years he would have to crawl because as he grew his ankles would no longer support his weight. Corrective surgery could reshape the course of his life as well as his family’s.
I brought Little Mo to the United States to live with us while I arranged to have his feet corrected. He returned to his family eight months later – running and jumping like other kids his age. Not only did he learn to walk, he learned to speak English, brush his teeth and appreciate school. His future looks bright. He promises to be Spider-Man when he grows up.
We healed each other.