Volcanic Eruption Postpones Mission of Mercy

Ash forces HU docs to postpone Nigeria mission

By Pat Lawson Muse
|  Friday, Apr 16, 2010  |  Updated 7:16 PM EDT
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Volcanic Ash Plume Snarls International Traffic

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Volcanic Ash Plume Snarls International Traffic

Flight disruptions from a volcano in Iceland reach all the way to Dulles Airport.
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The fallout from the volcanic ash spewed over Europe is being felt as far away as Nigeria.

A team of 30 Howard University Hospital physicians postponed a mission of mercy to the African nation because of ash from the volcanic eruption in Iceland. An estimated 1,700 flights have been grounded because of the ash, which can damage airplane engines.

The Howard doctors represent various specialties, including gynecology, obstetrics, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, family medicine, general surgery and urogynecology. They were scheduled to leave Dulles Airport at 5:45 p.m. for Kaduna, Nigeria, with a connecting flight in Frankfurt, Germany.  They were planning to spend two weeks in Nigeria providing free health care to thousands of people.

Howard University Hospital physicians go to Nigeria twice every year to administer free medical care to underserved areas of the country.

“I am not sure what’s going to happen now,” said Dr. Kevin Scott Smith, director of minimally invasive gynecological surgery at Howard and one of the members of the team. “We are looking into alternative travel arrangements.”

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