Saturday 22 July 2017

Haiti aid team appeals for supplies

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

A TEAM of Irish orthopaedic surgeons and health staff, who are embarking on a series of mercy missions to Haiti to operate on victims of the earthquake, have issued a public appeal for medical supplies and funds.

The members of the team, which includes surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and physiotherapists, are taking leave from their jobs to travel to a hospital in the remote village of Cange.

Cappagh Hospital ortho-paedic surgeon John O'Byrne, who has just returned from a visit to the hospital in Haiti, said the next three weeks are crucial for some survivors who need to be operated on in order to save their limbs.

He was among three Irish surgeons who have just spent four days in Haiti liaising with Dr Louise Ivers, an Irish doctor who works with Partners in Health, the American organisation which has been in Haiti for many years.

The Irish team is appealing for artificial limbs, wheelchairs, surgical supplies and wound-care products, said Mr O'Byrne. The plan is that the doctors and other staff will go out in relays for two weeks at a time.

He said the Cange area was not affected by the earthquake and many flocked to the hospital. "We can make a big contribution -- there are people there with very badly crushed limbs. Some must be amputated and others can be saved."

He said they are also appealing for funds and have a bank account where the money will go directly to the mission.

Members of the public who may have crutches or wheelchairs they no longer need could also help out by dropping them off at Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital in Dublin.

Dr Patrick Kiely, an orthopaedic surgeon in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, said the present estimates suggest in excess of 200,000 people have been injured.

"Most of the injured have broken bones and wounds that will require ongoing treatment over the coming months."

He added: "The first team of surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses will be going to Haiti in two weeks and the aim is that relay teams of doctors and nurses will travel out on a regular basis for the foreseeable future to treat the injuries, deformities and disabilities that arise as a result of the earthquake.

"As time passes and the injuries heal the nature of the problems to be treated will change. While fracture care and wound treatment are the present priorities, problems associated with orthopaedic and plastic surgical reconstruction and rehabilitation will replace them over the coming months.

"We are appealing to medical and surgical supply companies, wound care and pharmaceutical organisations and orthopaedic appliance providers to donate anything that will help."

Anyone interested should contact ugormally@rcsi.ie. They can also ring Cappagh Hospital in Dublin at (01) 814 0400.

UN warns of violent upheaval: Page 34

Irish Independent

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