Halifax doctors see 'dire' need volunteering in Haiti
Team Broken Earth handled dozens of cases on week-long trip
A team of more than a dozen Halifax medical specialists are back home after spending a week volunteering in Haiti, building a long-term connection to help some of the country's most vulnerable people.
The 18 members of Team Broken Earth, a Newfoundland-based organization, handled dozens of emotional cases as they battled gruelling heat and outdated equipment.
“I'm having my breakfast and then someone came and fetched me from the lunch room and I found a two-hour old infant who was born about 12 weeks early, who was having trouble breathing,” said Dr. Katrina Hurley, an ER doctor at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.
The hospital had just received new equipment and with Hurley's help the baby survived.
While they were there the doctors performed operations and held sessions to teach their skills to the local hospital employees.
“The hospital doesn't serve food, it doesn't provide linens. That's the family's responsibility to do that. The family that stays with them are sleeping on pebbles in the courtyard after dark,” said Hurley.
The team slept on bunk beds in rooms of eight.
Dr. Chad Coles, a surgeon at the Halifax Infirmary, compared it to camping, but says for the doctors and nurses on the trip, it's a small sacrifice.
“The people of Haiti are in dire need. This is no longer earthquake related relief that we're providing, the health care in Haiti even pre-earthquake was very poor,” he said.
This was the Halifax team's second trip to Haiti, but they say their volunteer efforts don't end there.
Already they've started their campaign to help get them back to Haiti and their patients in the fall.