Monday, February 8, 2010

Sarasota doctors deliver care amid Haiti's chaos. "Sarasota Herald Tribune"

No central organization exists in Haiti beyond some supplies and equipment provided by the Red Cross, they said. Thousands of doctors showed up, set up camp and began treating patients as they could.By DAVID BALL Correspondent
But the doctors said the Haitian people are a different story. They are calm, polite and hopeful even in the face of a bleak future -- what world news reports are dubbing, the "amputation generation."

"There was a lot of good, a lot of bad and a lot of frustration," said Dr. Donald Slevin, an orthopedic surgeon who traveled with five other Sarasota physicians to Port-au-Prince ten days after the quake. "It was rewarding, but you felt that you did so little and there's so much left to be done."
Published: Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 5, 2010 at 9:37 p.m.
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The faces flash before Dr. Claudia Mallarino periodically during the day, while she is treating patients at Sarasota cancer clinics, and even more when she closes her eyes to sleep.
HOW YOU CAN HELPHearts Afire doctors traveling to help Haitian earthquake victims say they need the following medical supplies: bandages and sterile wipes, antibiotic and pain medications, fracture castings, wheelchairs, crutches IV tubes; emergency supplies like batteries, mosquito nets, sunscreen; various food items and money. Check the Web site for a complete list of items
Drop-off locations for supplies:

The Bridge Church
4000 75th St. W., Bradenton
(941) 792-5485
Church on the Rock Sarasota
8200 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota
(941) 377-6401
Cash donations
Donate cash online at
or mail to:
Hearts Afire
1425 South Osprey Ave., Suite 7
Sarasota, FL 34239
(941) 552-1584

The faces are mangled, bleeding and choking back tears of unthinkable pain. They are orphans, amputees and burn victims. They are hungry and homeless.

They are the Haitian people Mallarino treated just three days after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake leveled the capital of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas Jan. 12, killing an estimated 200,000 and injuring thousands more.
Mallarino and her husband, Dr. Guillermo Villalona, were among the first Sarasota doctors to travel to Haiti after the disaster. They slept in orphanages; they treated patients with limited supplies and medication and amid organizational chaos.
"I'm a physician from Colombia. I've seen some really bad conditions and poverty," said Mallarino, an oncologist who has traveled on medical mission trips to several undeveloped countries. "But I've seen nothing compared to this. Oh yes, I can't wait to go back."
Many other local doctors have traveled to Haiti -- some on their own or part of sponsored trips, such as one funded by Out-of-Door Academy last month. Others went on medical missionary trips organized by groups like Christian Fellowship Mission and Hearts Afire.
Today, a small group of Hearts Afire member physicians and area surgeons are heading to Haiti to begin collecting data and video footage of ground conditions. The Sarasota doctors hope to form partnerships with other relief agencies with the goal of creating a plan for long-term care of the Haitian people.

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