Vol. 12 No. 2 - February, 2010

Physicians and nurses respond to Haitian crisis

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Golding, MD
The UMMS and UMass Memorial care givers conducted clinics at four tent camps awaiting medical relief since mid-January. Here, John Broach, MD, MPH, is assessing a patient with assistance from a Haitian interpreter.

A group of 15 physicians and nurses from UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center recently returned from a week in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, caring for more than 1,000 earthquake victims. The team was assembled in response to a call for help from the Good Samaritan Hospital of La Romana in the Dominican Republic, an organization with which UMMS has a longstanding affiliation.

After traveling into Haiti with colleagues from Good Samaritan, the UMMS and UMass Memorial care givers conducted clinics at four tent camps that had been awaiting medical relief since the earthquake struck in mid-January. The patients suffered from a range of conditions, including acute infections, residual effects of traumatic injuries, the effects of acute and chronic malnutrition, chronic illnesses left unaddressed as a result of the interruption of other health care resources and post-traumatic stress. Now that medical services have been established, the Good Samaritan team plans to continue visiting these camps to sustain the efforts.

The group that traveled to Haiti included members of the departments of family medicine & community health, emergency medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine and orthopedics and the Graduate School of Nursing.

Additionally, a group of clinicians from the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), supported by UMass Memorial, have responded to the need for surgical help and are currently in Haiti to augment a surgical team already in the area.

In addition to those who travelled to Haiti to help directly, many individuals have offered their professional expertise, organized fundraising efforts and contributed financially. UMMS continues to work with Good Samaritan and other organizations to manage a long-term institutional response to Haiti’s needs, and the Medical School’s Office of Global Health will coordinate any requests for assistance. Faculty, students and staff who have proposed projects for Haiti should contact OGH Program Coordinator Kiger Lau, via global e-mail or phone at ext. 6-2840. Volunteer opportunities, updates on institutional plans and activities and information about donating to the UMMS Haiti Relief Effort fund are posted on the OGH Web site.

Good Samaritan Team
Onesky Aupont, MD, PhD, MPH
John Broach, MD, MPH
Matthew Collins, MD
Joseph DiFranza, MD
Terence Flotte, MD
Jeremy Golding, MD
Janet Hale, PhD, RN, CS, FNP
Katherine Harrison, MD
Michael Kneeland, MD, MPH
Mariah McNamara, MD, MPH
Debrale Murphy, RN
Peter Murphy, MD
Christine Purington, MD
Alexandra Schultes, MD
John Wixted, MD
Frank Bova, EMT
Maura Brennan, RN
Charlene DeStefano, LICSW
Ronald Jabara, information services
Jan Leary, RN
Emilio Mastrodomenico, pharmacy
Ronald Mike, respiratory therapist
Anthony Pellegrino, MD
William Pierce, RN
Stacy Weisberg, MD