A team of San Diego doctors, just back from Haiti, consider the week they spent helping quake survivors life-changing.
Orthopedic surgeon Thomas Moyad, M.D., anesthesiologist Yuri Gelland, M.D., general surgeon Phillip Dickinson, M.D. and intensive care unit specialist Kaveh Bagheri spent a week in Diquini, a small neighborhood about 10-miles from the Port-au-Prince airport.
The team amputated limbs, cleaned and set open wounds and saved lives all in a makeshift hospital set up in a tent city. Conditions made surgeries challenging at best.
"You didn't always have the exact tool you wanted," said general surgeon Phillip Dickinson, M.D. "You never had the best lighting."
On Sunday, just back from Haiti, they gathered to share their experience in the hopes of urging others to open their hearts and their wallets to help quake survivors.
“In the first day it was both emotional and just again the number of injured people was overwhelming,” said Bagheri. “It numbed your senses really.”
Resting in sleeping bags, near pallets of supplies, they worked alongside doctors from around the world. The most heartbreaking moments they said involved children.
“I have been doing orthopedics for ten years and I think I saw probably a year or two of injuries in one week,” said Moyad.
The team used medical supplies donated by Sharp Grossmont and Alvarado hospitals to treat the patients.
Although the Haitian people are resilient, they are in desperate need of help according to the team. Though it might be easier to look away, they want people to help in any way they can. They say a long-term commitment to the country is essential.
“There is no way you can help most of the people there,” said Bagheri. “But I think we were able to touch lives one at a time.”