Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sarasota's Doctors take practice to Haiti. "Sarasota Herald Tribune".


By LISA FREDERICK Correspondent

Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
Days after the earthquake hit Haiti, Sarasota orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Sugar decided to take his practice to the devastated country.
On Jan. 18, Sugar emptied all of the medical supplies from his office on Waldemere Street. He joined area doctors Trae Bernard, Tom Nutter and Joe Pecoraro on a Monday morning flight into the Dominican Republic.
Upon arrival, they drove nine hours to their final destination in the ruined town of Petit-Goave, two and a half hours west of Port-au-Prince.
Sugar and the team performed surgeries with limited supplies after rummaging through equipment at the main Notre Dame hospital in Port-au-Prince. They set up surgery rooms under tarps and in huts. The doctors were forced to use old-fashioned methods of checking patients' vital signs, such as noticing color and determining their pulse.
Bernard, an anesthesiologist, used hypnosis methods as a substitute for anesthetics. He said he was surprised by the high spirit of the people of Haiti despite the devastation.
"You would expect them to be crying, but they were very grateful for any help we could give them," Bernard said.
Sugar and Bernard treated a 15-month-old boy with a femur fracture by putting him in a body cast. Bernard said the infant lived in a tiny hut with his mother and father before their home was demolished by the earthquake.
The children were especially happy to see the visiting doctor"They would smile and come and hug you and not let go," Sugar said.
Sugar said the trip helped him realize how the people of Haiti live and the hardships they have endured even before the earthquake.
He added that there is still much to be done in Haiti and has returned to Petit-Goave, where he has made friends with many people.
On Feb. 6, his second trip, he brought more donated medical supplies, food, clothing, basic necessities and toys for the children.
Donations were provided by friends and family as well as students and teachers at Southside Elementary School.
In an e-mail to friends and family members, Sugar wrote, "The Haitian people are wonderful people. I am blown away by their resiliency and spirit. They are gracious people and they need our help."
This story appeared in print on page BS4
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