Team of physicians from Staten Island, Manhattan and Texas make a difference in Haiti

Staten Island Real-Time News—January 22, 2010

The team of physicians arrived Tuesday morning at a place, thousands of miles from the cool operating rooms and sophisticated machinery of home, where they cut bone with saw blades from a hardware store, observed the rhythm of patients' breathing to judge whether they had given enough anesthesia and operated without the benefit of X-rays or monitoring equipment.

They opened windows to let a breeze through the screens, mopped their brows in 90-degree heat and leaned over the patients -- one, after another, after another.

In two days, in a rudimentary trauma center in the Dominican border town of Jalabi, doctors from Richmond University Medical Center, West Brighton, the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan and a colleague from Texas, performed 70 surgeries and dozens of smaller procedures, while hundreds more victims of the earthquake in Haiti crowded the hallways and the courtyard outside, sweating in pain, their throats parched from moaning.

'EVERYTHING INFECTED'

"We got there seven days after the earthquake, everything was infected, people were dying," said Dr. Mark Sherman, director of orthopedic surgery at RUMC and HSS medical staff member, who after watching the wrenching images of devastation on television, quickly put together a team including his brother, Dr. Gary Sherman, director of podiatry at the hospital; his son, Dr. Seth Sherman, an orthopedic resident at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan; RUMC anesthesiologist Daphang Fan; RUMC orthopedic fellow Dr. Travis Von Tobel; Dr. Sherman's medical school colleague from Texas, Michael McLean; his son's colleague, orthopedist Dr. Patrick Jost, and native Haitian Peter Mompremier, owner of the medical-supply firm, Synthes, traveling with carloads of donated supplies.

"There was nothing in the hospital, except people who were suffering, and a lot of chaos," said Dr. Sherman, who returned home with the team this evening.

Read the full story at silive.com.

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