Haiti – Earthquake appeal – CRUDEM FOUNDATION

Over the past several days, we have all been stunned by the human devastation resulting from the earthquake in Haiti.  I know that all of you have and will continue to give your support to organizations and people who are working hard to provide relief and comfort to the people there.

As you consider ways to help, I would appreciate your consideration of the Crudem Foundation, an organization that operates a hospital (Hopital Sacre Coeur) and provides medical training and services in Haiti.  My sister works for the Crudem Foundation.  It is an organization that we know well – one that we can recommend without hesitation.

Hopital Sacre Coeur is located in the town of Milot, about 70 miles north of Port au Prince.  Although the distance seems short, it is a 7 hour trip by car – even before the earthquake made so many roads impassible.  The hospital remains operational and is just now starting to receive patients who are being transported there by US Coast Guard helicopters.  The challenges of connecting resources to those desperately in need is best described by Tim Traynor, a Crudem volunteer on the ground in Milot:

“Our surgeons have begun to speculate on the numbers of people languishing in Port au Prince that have perished since the last and only flight came to Milot. Septic poisoning and other very curable infections are taking their toll on the innocents.  When we hear a chopper in the distance, we all run to the landing field like shipwrecked sailors hoping that it will land and bring us someone to save.  We pray, we wait, we do everything in preparation over and over again, and no one seems to be listening.  Around the edges of our hearts, we even wonder if anyone cares.  It is almost obscene to sit and do nothing in the face of this calamity but we are powerless without the attention and determined spirits of those who are needed to bring us patients.  There is music filtering from the church across the street which declares that God is with us and all will be well.  I would like to believe this now especially in this very dark hour.”

Since Tim wrote that email on Saturday, a few more flights have come in and more will arrive as access routes open.  The hospital is receiving many very young children, along with adults.  A large percentage of patients require amputations.  The hospital is well equipped to handle what they will face in the near term.  They have 2 operating rooms, a fully equipped lab, orthopedic/general surgery/and trauma teams from the US on site to augment 247 Haitian medical and non-medical staff.  They can house 75 -100 medical personnel.  They have converted the school across the street into a patient wing and have a helicopter landing site 200 feet from the hospital.  The residents of the town of Milot, who have very little themselves, have made housing available for the families of patients.  In addition, the town residents have been filling potholes in the local roads to make access to the hospital less bumpy for those who may be transported there by car.

The Crudem Foundation has been working in Haiti for a long time; it will be there for a long time to come.  Even for a stable, respected organization such as this, the road ahead will be increasingly challenging – both for the hospital and for those who receive its services.  The high number of amputations is creating a need for crutches and prostheses – items that are not typically stocked in large numbers.  As patients are able to be released from the hospital, they will need a place to stay.  Many will need to remain in the area in order to receive follow up care.  There are few houses in Milot – most people live in shelters constructed of tin.  But they are committed to share what they have. The hospital and the community will do what needs to be done.  But they will need help.

As you consider ways to help in this most devastating of human tragedies, I would be grateful for your consideration of the Crudem Foundation.  You can learn more about the organization and can make a contribution at www.crudem.org.  You can also follow on Facebook by searching on CRUDEM_Haiti.

With thanks,
Dr. Jefferson and Janice Wiggins
New Fairfield, CT