(June 26, 2012) FORT LIBERTE, Haiti–Thirty Howard University physicians and medical students traveled to Haiti this week as part of a humanitarian mission to provide services to hundreds of men, women and children ranging from treatment of ringworm to Caesarian section births.

After a four-hour bus ride from Washington to New York, a cancelled midnight plane to the Dominican Republic, then a flight to Boston to catch a different plane to the Dominican Republic, a then four-hour flight followed by a four-hour bus ride to here, Howard University’s medical mission finally arrived late Monday afternoon.

Exhausted, students and faculty were eager for a hot shower and a bed, but they still had work to do. Instead they ate, left their hotel and headed to the Fort Liberte Hospital and the nearby school to prepare for the following day during which they would treat hundreds of poor Haitian residents.

Through the night until nearly 11 p.m., the students unloaded dozens of bags of medical and surgical supplies off the bus and unpacked them into the pharmacy and the surgery area of the hospital.

Possibly the most daunting area was the pharmacy, which had a 10-foot mountain of boxes that had been thrown into a corner. They had to be removed and the room thoroughly cleaned before the shelves could be stocked with the thousands of dollars of medication that the medical mission had brought.

Howard medical students Bruce Reaves, Joanne Lataillade, Kim Ann Dang, Ashley Pinette, Juliana Llana, Marcee McRae, Adaobe Okonkwor and Jarrod Matthei helped Dr. Bill Lois, chair of surgery at Kingsbrook Jewish Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Dr. Marie Fidelia-Lambert, associate professor of pathology in the Department of Pathology at Howard University College of Medicine and Howard University Hospital, stock surgery and the pharmacy with supplies.

Pinette and McRae were unexpectedly pressed into service in surgery after an elderly woman came to the hospital at around 9 p.m. bleeding from numerous cuts and a man arrived after nearly cutting off his lip accidentally with a machete.

The woman had been beaten by her daughter. Pinette assisted Dr. Anthony Watkins, a surgeon at New York Presbyterian Columbia Hospital in New York City. McCrae helped Dr. Guny Gabriel, a surgeon also with Kingsbrook Jewish Hospital.

McRae helped sew the man’s lip back to his mouth and Pinette helped close the wounds of the elderly woman who had been attacked by her daughter.

Click here for a related article on the Howard Faculty and Student Mission to Haiti

Ron Harris

Special to the AFRO