Saturday, January 23, 2010

Haiti and a report from a Dr's wife

From my "Returned Missionary Moms" weblist, I've gotten to "know" Alice, one of the Moms on the list.  We all exchange happening in our lives, not just having to do with our returned missionary sons and daughters.

Our church has sent several physicians to Haiti to help, and Alice's husband Mark was one such volunteer.  Being he works with 6 other doctors, he was able to leave his practice in their care for awhile.

 These show Dr. Mark Rampton getting ready to leave for Haiti.
Reading what Alice had to say about all this, brought this Haiti experience to a more personal level for me.  These are her words, as of a few days ago:

"My husband called at 5:30 am from Haiti on the global phone that the church sent with the team.  It was a short phone call but the transmission was pretty good except for the sound of helicopters flying overhead.   Here were some of his comments:

1. There is more damage here than you can imagine and more injuries than are even portrayed on the media.  Every other person is walking around with an injury of some kind.  Yesterday at the medical clinic, he saw broken ribs, legs, arms, fingers, and lacerations of all kinds.  The pain and suffering is beyond comprehension.

2. They are moving to another LDS church building today that is near the palace in Port au Prince and closer to a heavily damaged area.  They hope to set up a more permanent clinic there as they figure that help will be needed for a long time.

3.  If hundreds of teams of doctors were in Haiti, there would still not be enough for all the people in need of medical help.

4. Building after building has been leveled. It is a city in shambles.  So many people displaced.

... The weather is hot and muggy - he's given some of his clothes away so I bet he will keep wearing the same thing all week. The team slept in tents at someone's property outside of town today...    He said that the medical team is a great one to work with.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Alice in Oregon"

And then yesterday she wrote this about her husband:

When Mark called last night he had a hard time talking without getting emotional. He's a touchy feely guy but doesn't actually cry all that often so I know he's affected by what he is seeing. He said that he does fine during the day when he's with the patients, but on the phone, the emotions were raw. After 33 years of practicing medicine, he's seen everything in terms of blood and guts, but when a young boy is carried in with two legs broken, his parents and siblings dead in the earthquake, and his home destroyed, it's just too much loss to comprehend. As mentioned in the Gazette Times article, the cases that they are all seeing are pretty heart wrenching except for the delivery of a healthy baby which he was able to do yesterday.

The clinic, located at an LDS church in the heart of Port au Prince and very close to the Palace, is very busy because of its location to a severe part of the disaster area plus it is 2 blocks from one of the hospitals called Sacred Heart. There have been thousands of people camping out at the hospital trying to be seen and now many of them are being carried over to the LDS clinic because they heard that there are doctors there. Then when the docs and nurses at the LDS clinic see that there is a severe need for surgery or whatever, they just carry the patient back to the hospital and can usually get in to the operating room because they bring the orthopedic surgeon on the 20 member medical team or whomever to do the surgery. The team includes 2 orthopedic surgeons, 2 general surgeons, 2 emergency room physicians, and 4 family practice doctors. I'm not sure how many nurses are on the team, but Mark has mentioned several times a wonderful male nurse who is Haitian and now lives in Ogden, Utah. His parents survived the quake but are ill.

The LDS church has a generator (with fuel that did make it there) and they try to use it only when needed. The church also has a water filter which is at a premium in the area because it allows for clean water. So those things are great, but the orthopedic surgeons are running out of the screws/plates that they need for the broken bone surgeries and I'm sure other supplies will soon be in shortage. There does seem to be fairly good exchange among the military and other medical teams that are there. The doctors were going to go see if the military would lend them the supplies needed for bone surgery.

Mark definitely felt the earthquake yesterday morning. In fact, he woke up thinking someone was shaking him to get up. Instead, it was just the rolling of the earth. The team has a nice place to stay outside of Port au Prince- it's a big hacienda belonging to a contractor. Mark sleeps in a tent on the grounds and at first, felt guilty being in such a safe and peaceful setting, but after the first day of seeing 80 patients in a 10 hour day without any stops for food, he realized that it's good to have a place to go to build up physical and emotional strength, get a good night's rest, and be ready to face the next day.

The volunteers at the church/clinic are amazing. There are hundreds of them. They are helping to distribute goods, assist with medical procedures, triage, translate, organize the patients, etc. It's a large army of Haitian volunteers and he says they are wonderful. He said that the church in Haiti is alive and vibrant..."
For a news article about this doctor's experiences, go here.   


grandmapeg said...

Thanks Jill for sharing this information from your friend. You know, when we say our prayers for these people of Haiti and for those volunteers there, I think we still can't even imagine all that they are going through. This added information will definitely make my prayers more detailed in behalf of all of those people in Haiti.

Lisa said...

That's incredible. Hearing about atrocities and tragedies doesn't hit home until you get personal with it. Your post really opened my eyes. I heard how bad it is but it never quite sunk in until I read your post.

It's a beautiful thing when you see how many human beings will step up to help their neighbors during such horrifying events. How can words ever express adequately the ebb and flow of this whole scenario?

Thanks for the update.

Eileen said...

Thank you for posting this personal story. My heart goes out to the victims and my prayers are for them and for those who are working to help them. It must be so frustrating and heartbreaking to see so much tragedy. And my prayers are for them to have the strength to go on.
I can't even imagine what it must be to witness such devastation.
It's heartbreaking just to read about.
God Bless the good work they do.
Love and Prayers,

Mary said...

It isn't until we see the magnitude of this type of suffering that we are rocked back by the realization of how blessed we really are. I need to stop complaining about my little problems and think more about how I can bless others. Thanks for sharing.

Susan Rozier said...

Thanks for sharing this Jill. The reports from the church newsroom are informative, but generic. This puts "life" into the situation. Also, it does help to direct our prayers to be more specific. Kudos to all those valient souls who are serving. Love, Dad and Susan

darlene said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing that, Jill!

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

It's really unimaginable! Buildings can be rebuilt but the thought of the children that are now without parents and families torn apart by tragedy is unspeakable. My own temptation is to pretend it never happened because the feeling of overwhelming powerlessness could really paralyze you. Our prayers are our biggest source of power during these trying times. My hat goes off to all those volunteers that make the sacrifices needed to assist!

Sue said...

I read about this guy on my return missionary mom's list. What a great guy. Makes you proud.


Mom of 3 Boys said...


Thank you for sharing. Haiti has been in my thoughts and prayers so much. I really believe that sharing experiences helps those of us who are not there to have more specific prayers for those who are there and injured or helping the injured or just trying to find a new normal. I found new prayers in reading what you shared today and thank you so much!


Grandmotherfairy said...

Thank you for the post makes you want to more to help...

Mar~ said...

This is so sad and won't be better for a very long time I'm afraid.
HP is matching dollar for dollar donations though. I know money isn't the only answer but it certainly helps.